Sarri on Lazio transfer ‘problem’ and anomalous season

Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri told Football Italia that the transfer market stasis is ‘a problem for the director and the club,’ while he warns everyone faces an ‘anomalous’ season with the World Cup break.

The tactician spoke to reporters including Football Italia at an event in Pian di Sco’, the province of Arezzo, in Tuscany this evening.

The former Napoli, Chelsea and Juventus boss assured there is ‘no clear recipe’ for dealing with teams, despite the accusation over the years that he is very set on his ways and eager to recreate former dynamics.

“Dynamics have changed over the last 10-15 years with the arrival of social media, especially the younger players, which rather removes the sanctity of the locker room atmosphere. When I started in 1991, I don’t even think we had mobile phones!”

Sarri was asked about reports of tension within the Lazio locker room, for example Luis Alberto’s desire to leave last summer and late arrival to pre-season training, or Francesco Acerbi’s row with the ultras.

“To be honest, we haven’t had any main conflicts in the locker room of this side. We saw a team obviously accustomed to a certain way of working for five or six years and had to get used to a completely different approach, not helped by the fixture list that gave us very little time to work in training. Once we no longer had two matches a week, things improved considerably.”

After Simone Inzaghi walked away to take the Inter job, Sarri completely transformed the tactics of the squad from a 3-5-1-1 to 4-3-3, despite using largely the same group of players.

He has completed his first season at Lazio, but now begins a very unusual campaign that starts on the weekend of August 13, takes a two-month gap for the 2022 World Cup from mid-November and then resumes at the start of January 2023.

“The fixture list looks difficult on paper, but often it can depend on form at that moment, so it’s difficult to say. It is an anomalous situation, that’s for sure, and it will be anomalous for everyone.

“We will all have to do fitness work for three months, then have a huge gap and need to start again. It doesn’t seem like a good idea because of this World Cup.

“In modern football, it’s impossible to start a season with a full squad in pre-season training, as there are always other tournaments going on and senior players who need more time off.”

Lazio have made one signing this summer, 22-year-old Brazilian midfielder Marcos Antonio from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk.

“Marcos Antonio is a young lad, we had this opportunity to sign him – also due to rather unfortunate circumstances (in Ukraine). We had a 35-year-old player in that role whose contract was running down, so we went for this option.

“He needs to get used to Italian football, he has some Champions League experience and we’re happy to give him time to adapt.”

The last few weeks have seen negotiations drag on with Atalanta for Italy Under-21 goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi, but Sarri shrugged off questions about the state of those talks, confirming some tension with director Igli Tare and President Claudio Lotito.

“I don’t know, that is a problem for the director of sport and the club, we’ll see what they choose in the end.”

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