Simone Inzaghi confessed Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s red card against Chievo was “a huge mistake that compromised” Lazio’s game and possibly European hopes too.
The Biancocelesti had the perfect opportunity to close on fourth-placed Milan and also Roma, as both teams drew on Saturday.
Instead, they incredibly lost 2-1 at the Olimpico to a Chievo side that was already relegated, as Milinkovic-Savic saw red 34 minutes in for a reaction foul – kicking Mariusz Stepinski up the backside.
“Milinkovic made a huge, naïve mistake that compromised the game,” Inzaghi told Rai Sport.
“We knew it would be tougher than people assumed, but without doubt that was a massive error and we all paid dearly for it. We should’ve stayed calm and after that gesture it all became more difficult.
“It wasn’t a great start to the match, but if we’d just taken our time and settled, we probably would’ve won eventually. It’s not over for our Champions League hopes, but this was a step backwards that nobody expected.
“Now we’ve got the Coppa Italia semi-final coming up and that is an opportunity for us to quickly turn the page.”
The first leg ended 0-0 and the decider is on Wednesday at San Siro.
Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto – who saw red for dissent after the final whistle – will be available, because Serie A and the Coppa Italia are two separate tournaments.