Maurizio Sarri hits back at critics after Lazio beat Genoa 1-0 to reach the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, noting people think they are ‘in crisis’ after three straight wins.

The Biancocelesti did just enough to get the better of Genoa at the Stadio Olimpico this evening, as Matteo Guendouzi got his first goal for the club in the opening five minutes on a Luca Pellegrini assist.

There were several opportunities to add more, but Pedro, Ciro Immobile and Toma Basic fired straight at the goalkeeper.

This result caps off a great run of games for the Aquile, beating Celtic in the Champions League, Cagliari in Serie A and Genoa in the Coppa Italia, all without conceding a single goal.

“I rewatched the Cagliari game and it was a good performance, the only thing we did wrong was not kill it off earlier. People look at the table and think Cagliari are easy, but they had lost only once to Juventus in the previous six matches,” Sarri told Mediaset.

“I have been here for three years and we seem to constantly be ‘in crisis.’ We just won three matches in a row and we’re described as being ‘in crisis.’ We moved the ball around a bit quicker tonight, but didn’t kill it off again.

“Missing Casale and Romagnoli, these centre-backs are forced to play every three days. At the end, we even had to use Adam Marusic as a centre-back for the first time.”

Guendouzi did not just score the goal, but was also Man of the Match, seemingly everywhere when attacking and defending.

“He is a lad with great energy and character. He loves a challenge, throws himself into the game, he’s in great shape at the moment and had already impressed me in the Premier League for that energy he shows on the field.”

Matias Vecino was frozen out of the squad due to disciplinary reasons, although quite what happened is not clear, especially after the Uruguayan said on Instagram that his ‘conscience is clear’ and never ‘disrespected’ anybody.

“There is nothing to clarify. It is a locker room matter, nothing particularly serious. The club agreed with me that we would take this action, then we’ll discuss it again in a few days. This is the situation for now,” added the coach.

There was also some bad news for Sarri, because Gustav Isaksen and Patric went off with muscular issues, but Felipe Anderson had a disappointing performance as a substitute.

“Felipe Anderson has never been consistent in his career. He gives you great positives and negatives, this is one of the negative moments, we’ll just have to wait for the tide to turn. He is a very sensitive lad, he is affected by rapports and criticism. I sincerely doubt the issue is the contract.”

There could well be a Derby della Capitale in the quarter-finals, as Lazio will face the winners of the Roma vs. Cremonese tie.

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