Maurizio Sarri was extremely critical of his Lazio side after they rode their luck and still lost to Fiorentina. ‘The team was flatlining mentally throughout the match.’

The Aquile earned a 2-0 win away to Torino midweek by being incredibly clinical and scoring against the run of play, so felt it was again going in their direction at the Stadio Franchi.

They were rescued by the woodwork three times before taking the lead through Luis Alberto, who had not scored in Serie A since October, then rode their luck again after the Michael Kayode equaliser when Nico Gonzalez fired a penalty against the upright.

Ivan Provedel only parried a Lucas Beltran strike into the path of Giacomo Bonaventura for the 2-1 final result, which means Fiorentina leapfrog Lazio into seventh place in the Serie A table.

“The team did not react to an undeserved lead, to a missed penalty or to going behind. It was flatlining mentally throughout the match,” Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.

“There are a few reasons for that, we had three players on the field with flu symptoms, two or three players trained once in a month and really need to rest. There was the risk of this happening, but the drop was too evident tonight. At this point we have to doubt whether we have the physical and mental structure to sustain four competitions.”

There is another huge game coming up for Lazio on Friday against third-placed Milan, then the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 with Bayern Munich.

“I hope Vecino and Zaccagni are fully recovered now, but with Patric and Rovella I don’t know, we cannot make predictions right now.”

Sarri said before kick-off that he did not feel the Biancocelesti ought to be expected to challenge for a top four finish again.

“We are in a very difficult position, that is obvious. I urge the team to take it one game at a time. Unfortunately, this murderous run of fixtures will continue, I can only hope that we can rest some players at some point to get them into better physical and mental condition.”

Lazio have fumbled 16 points from leading situations this season, only fighting back to beat Frosinone, and this is becoming a serious problem.

“When you struggle to score goals, it becomes difficult to turn games around. We are scoring a bit more recently, but also losing some of our solidity. We’ll see if it is caused by using up energy or not.

“Fiorentina are very good at passing the ball around, but we made it easy for them by never once pressing high. I told the team at half-time that with this attitude, they could not take the result home. We had been allowed a fortunate opportunity to take the lead, but we did not make the most of it to get points.”

There was also concern in the first half when Provedel motioned to the medical staff that he felt dizzy, but he was given the all-clear to continue after taking some vitamin integrators.

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