Lazio director Igli Tare implies Luis Alberto was dropped for the big match against Inter because he doesn’t press high enough for Maurizio Sarri’s liking.
It kicks off at 17.00 UK time (16.00 GMT).
Francesco Acerbi is suspended, but the big surprise in the starting XI is Toma Basic rather than Luis Alberto in midfield.
Has the Spain international got an injury, is this a tactical decision or one prompted by problems in the locker room?
“I don’t know where you get these ideas from about problems in the locker room,” Tare shrugged to DAZN.
“The coach made his decisions, we have 11 players in the starting XI, he sees the way they train during the week and makes his choices based on that.
“It’s a problem when we don’t have players, not when we have many to choose from.
“Basic struggled a little to begin with, Sarri did well to slowly introduce him into the group, he has improved a great deal over the last month. His system is based on a high press, where all 11 need to make the right movements. The moment one of these players doesn’t do that, it becomes a problem for the rest of the team.
“Basic has earned his right to play this game.”
Sarri also vented his frustration yesterday in a press conference, irritated that the break for international duty meant he could not really prepare for this big Serie A clash with his best players.
“Players are paid by their clubs, so preparing a big match like this with half the squad not even present until the day before is unfair. I fully agree with Sarri.”
This is the first return to the Stadio Olimpico for Simone Inzaghi, who spent 22 years at Lazio as player and then coach.
“Inzaghi and his staff deserve respect for all they did here. We wish them all the best and a winning experience at Inter, but only from next week,” smiled Tare.
— calciomercato.com (@cmdotcom) October 16, 2021