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Tuesday July 21 2020
Lazio honour in defeat

The Scudetto was a dream too far, but despite defeat to Juventus, Richard Hall insists Lazio can be more than proud of this exceptional season.

The story of the night belonged in Turin, as Juventus all but secured their ninth consecutive Scudetto thanks to a certain Cristiano Ronaldo and his brace. The game was, however, not an easy one and a depleted Lazio could take great credit from the way they performed. This has been the case all season apart from after the break from the pandemic, where they have struggled to recapture their exciting and devastating brand of football. For the Roman club this was not a night for regrets however, as the future looks bright and this season can certainly be considered a success.

Taking a step back and looking at Lazio’s campaign, it is easy to see just how far they have come. Simone Inzaghi said as much after the game, focusing on how he gets annoyed when people criticise his team. After all, they are in the Champions League for the first time in 13 years, they tasted victory in the Supercoppa early in the season and finished 14 points better off than last season. Simone Inzaghi has a team that with some shrewd moves in the transfer market could potentially challenge again for the Scudetto, or at the very least, establish themselves in the top four.

To say what went wrong with Lazio is not to offer up excuses, but to give genuine reasons about why their campaign stalled. From January to the start of the pandemic and the end of football in March, Le Aquile had won nine games, drawn twice and lost once. On the return, they have won twice, drawn once and lost five games. Why has this been such a turnaround? Well the first reason is momentum. Inzaghi had managed to tune the team into a unit that although under-resourced in comparison to Inter and Juventus, were playing with confidence and they were many people’s favourites for the title. They had beaten Inter (a team looking tired) and Juventus just did not look convincing. They were also seen as underdogs and every game they got a result poured pressure onto ‘The Old Lady’. The break came at the wrong time.

Why didn’t this affect Inter or Juventus? They didn’t have momentum and the break allowed them to re-think and regenerate. It has to be said that even after the restart, the Nerazzurri struggled to get consistent performances and the Bianconeri dragged themselves to the finish line with some abject outings and some surprising defeats. This by no means gives Lazio a complete excuse, as the trip to Lecce will always be a game they regret.

Squad size did also play a part. Teams like Juventus, Inter and even Milan used their strength in depth to make the most of the five substitutions rule. No more was this evident that against Juventus, when Inzaghi talked about his decimated team. He lamented about how only twelve players were able to train before the game and the fact that the lack of rotation available to him has seen many of his key players get injured. The fact that only three of the subs named were fit to play was telling and all but one of these had not played in Serie A.

The positives after the defeat outweigh the negatives. The young players who had to perform on the night did and Djavan Anderson was one of those who proved the value of giving younger players a chance, something often overlooked by many of the bigger Serie A clubs. Ciro Immobile sits with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring charts with an incredible 30 goals and games to play, Luis Alberto and his connection with the striker has been incredible and his ability to find space between the lines is still something beautiful. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s reputation continues to grow and Champions League football could warn off any suitors, whilst Joaquin Correa has shown that his reputation is on the rise. Add to this the stellar seasons from Francesco Acerbi and Thomas Strakosha and it is easy to see why many who follow the team can be excited for the next.

Finally, perhaps the last and more generous portion of the praise must go to the ‘mister’ Inzaghi. His tactics, man-management and vision has created a team all Lazio fans can be proud of and perhaps with the money that Europe’s elite competition offers, he can try and bolster this squad whilst holding on to most of its key components. Perhaps next season the team can also look to the youth system and the likes of Raul Moro and Luca Falbo can also start to come through. The future is bright for Lazio and this season can be seen as a success.

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Have your say...
As a LAZIO fan i am happy with 4th place finish and Italian Super Cup. We must now every season qualify for Champions league and Challenge Scudetto. Hope Loitto invest that extra cash on transfer targets. I believe we can win the Scudetto within 2 years if we keep current squad and invest properly. The future is bright now and we can now play youth players.
on the 6th August, 2020 at 3:11pm
Lazio excelled and gave a "less than stellar" Juve a genuine scare.
Lack of depth and injuries are what caused the downturn.
Given their budget, they exceeded expectations.
Hand Lazio the money that Juve and Inter have spent and Inzaghi would be boasting a Serie A title as we speak.
Lazio could barely muster 5 healthy starters let alone 5 subs and people still question their performance?
on the 27th July, 2020 at 10:40pm
It was a kick ass strategy that almost paid off, play to your strengths focus on one important goal and place all your eggs in that basket. IMO if you have a team that is quality but lacks depth then why would you bother forcing them to play twice a week when you know from the outset that it will end in nothing.

Agreed with other people's thoughts, given the situation it's very hard to analyse what has occurred.. that being said beating Juve twice in one season was memorable.. FORZA LAZIO!
on the 23rd July, 2020 at 10:51am
@Mak E Pizza
When would they play rescheduled games then? In-between (while others rest)? At end???
The only mistake was HAVING COPPA BEFORE SERIE A!!!

If Lazio played a game before INSTEAD OF Atalanta people would still moan:
"They were leading 2-0, but because they played 3 days before their legs were tired..!"

Even coaches ALWAYS find excuses:
"We lost because we only had 3 days of rest & they had 7!"
"We lost because we rested for 7 days, while they rested for only 3 & kept match-fitness."
on the 22nd July, 2020 at 3:56pm
Let's be honest here, it was always a bit too far fetched to think they were going to win the scudetto. It's true that Juve's form has not been scintillating, but they know how to win ugly an that is how you win titles. Having said that, Lazio have something they can build on and that is good news for them. If they are smart enough to pounce on the opportunity to improve the team, then I am sure Juve won't have it easy next season.
on the 22nd July, 2020 at 9:12am
Lazio's first match after the league restarted was against Atalanta, who had already played and won a match several days before. Lazio got off to a brilliant start and were 2-0 up against, you could say, slightly tired Atalanta legs. However, Atalanta had the match fitness to compete for 90 minutes and quickly took control after half time when Lazio's lack of a proper match behind them was clear and they completely ran out of steam. Every team should have played the first match simultaneously.
on the 22nd July, 2020 at 9:04am
Ah, the Juve bashing, never gets old. Pathetic editorials like this and the mindset emerging out of it are the true problems of Calcio.


Napoli tried this pathetic recipe of "get knocked out of Europe early, concentrate on Scudetto, experiment in Coppa Italia with Primavera" for multiple seasons. Can someone tell me how Napoli fared that way?


Lazio don't deserve squat, they deserve whatever they're getting, which is once again NOTHING.


Richard, have some class and try to be objective...
on the 22nd July, 2020 at 7:41am
Proud of what? Purposely getting knocked out of all other competition so they could concentrate on one game a week in Seria A. In Italy for the last season and this one the word 'proud' should only be applied to Atalanta.
on the 21st July, 2020 at 8:58pm
listen Lazio were on FIRE B4 the crisis... cmon even a person who doesnt bet would of put $$ on them to leap frog juve into 1st even if for a week. truth is yes the wheels came apart at right when they needed to win the most. S.Inzaghi had done an amazing job considering what he has and what he was given at the start. had there not been a lock down id say they would still very much be in the title race.
with all cash they saved and earned they must buy some star players to move up few levels
on the 21st July, 2020 at 8:45pm
Firetruck how can you argue, in good faith, that lockdown impacted all teams equally? Lazio were in 1 competition only & were preparing to only have to play 1 game per week. Atalanta, Juve, and Inter were all in other competitions and would have midweek games in-between the normal league schedule

That advantage is eliminated with the post-COVID schedule, as now Lazio played every 3 days just like everyone else.

Milan came back better b/c they needed a break to regroup, Lazio did not.
on the 21st July, 2020 at 4:53pm
Well done to Lazio, but they shamefully bowed out of Europa to place 4th!!! Who's job is it to ensure they have a decent bench...Nedved?? And the lockdown blah blah blah... yes because Lazio was the only team to lockdown. Look at Milan, they have come back in excellent form! What serie A needs to do is add European clause to their distribution. If Lazio ends up with more $$ than Atalanta (due to the Overseas component) then that would be a SHAME!!
on the 21st July, 2020 at 3:13pm
lazio is like one of the old stadia Italy still do have. there mind-set is narrow and self-centric unlike of roma.in mathmatic angle' youd think lazio is ever 4,0000sQ where roma 6,0000sQ++?? mind the gape-hole. roma let in and out & lazio never hold back old romantic. ehh fun much!!
on the 21st July, 2020 at 3:07pm
Its hard to gauge true form in a disrupted season like this. The confidence and momentum Lazio had before the season temporarily shutdown may have served them better...we'll never know. Instead we now see Milan with new found form, which only benefits Juve, who at best have been ordinary.
on the 21st July, 2020 at 2:08pm
Lazio did well considering. I was willing them to equalise but it wasn't meant 2 be. U could tell even in the 1h, they were out on their feet n it looked like Juve would run away with it for a while. Lazio had 2 bring on youth players. But Juve almost threw it away again. I'd even go so far as 2 say that Lazio + Atalanta are better teams,they certainly play better as a unit but Juve have a deeper squad + can rely on individual skill + Ronaldo pens when it matters most. Good spirit shown by Lazio
on the 21st July, 2020 at 1:30pm

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