Sarri: ‘Lazio don’t fully understand my ideas’

epa09434367 Lazio's coach Maurizio Sarri reacts during the Italian Serie A soccer match SS Lazio vs Spezia Calcio at Olimpico stadium in Rome, Italy, 28 August 2021. EPA-EFE/ANGELO CARCONI

Maurizio Sarri concedes the Lazio players are not entirely suited to his system and ‘don’t fully understand my ideas yet,’ so expects a tough test from Cagliari on Walter Mazzarri’s debut.

It kicks off on Sunday at 17.00 UK time (16.00 GMT).

The Biancocelesti had won their opening two games with plenty of goals, but failed to find the net and were punished for howlers against Milan and Galatasaray.

Meanwhile, tomorrow’s opponents Cagliari make their debut under new coach Walter Mazzarri, having sacked Leonardo Semplici for one point from three rounds.

“It’s going to be difficult, because Cagliari are a better team than their current results would suggest,” said Sarri in his press conference.

“As they changed coach, there could also be an emotional reaction from the team, so we cannot expect anything easy. We lost to Galatasaray due to technical errors, both from our goalkeeper and the forwards who had chances to score. We did better than Galatasaray in the first 20 minutes and showed good character.”

The former Napoli, Juventus and Chelsea manager insists Lazio are not too far behind schedule and difficulties were to be expected changing from Simone Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 to his 4-3-3.

“We have some wing-backs more suited to being the fifth players in midfield and we are turning them into full-backs. We also have midfielders accustomed to working with one striker and a half. We are asking for something different, our midfielders are dynamic, but it’s more of a mental issue than a physical one.

“People think that a high press takes a lot out of you physically, but if anything, a press done well will keep the team tighter and mean you run less.

“I have seen gigantic tactical progress. We need to go on a journey, as everything changed, and we will slowly adapt to the new way of thinking. The lads are working hard, even if they don’t fully understand my ideas yet.

“I don’t need support from the club at this moment.”

Sarri sits out the first in a two-match ban for blasphemous swearing and aggressive behaviour during the final moments of the 2-0 defeat to Lazio.

He maintains he did not use blasphemous language and has lodged an appeal as well as taking legal action.

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