Tuesday January 26 2021
Immobile: 'COVID distracted Lazio'

Ciro Immobile said the lockdown ‘distracted’ Lazio last season, praised Italy CT Roberto Mancini and stressed he’s happy with his achievements with the Aquile.

The Biancocelesti pushed Juventus until March, had won the Supercoppa Italiana and seemed set to fight for the Scudetto in 2019-20.

But after the lockdown, the momentum crumbled and Simone Inzaghi’s men eventually finished fourth in Serie A.

Immobile admitted the coronavirus pandemic got in the way and claimed Lazio ‘could have fought’ for the title.

“Sometimes in football, there are moments when you feel invincible,” the Italy international told Tiki Taka. “Before COVID-19 we were formidable.

“We took to the pitch with the desire to win all the games.

“After COVID, it sometimes happens that you get distracted and we lost too many points.

“We could have fought for the Scudetto.”

Immobile has also helped Italy bounce back under Mancini and the striker said the former Inter coach was important to turn things around with the Azzurri.

“He gave us enthusiasm, now we have fun, and it shows,” the striker continued. “A coach who is a former player knows all the dynamics and has a small advantage.

“There’s an important transition from player to coach, with Mancini there’s an important relationship, even if we see each other very little.”

The 30-year-old has scored 13 goals in 17 Serie A games this term and he continues to impress up front with the Aquile.

Immobile arrived from Sevilla in July 2016 and has recently signed a new deal until June 2025, having contributed 143 goals in 199 competitive games so far.

“I’m happy with what I have won on a personal and team level,” Immobile added. “When I arrived, Lazio were sailing in the middle and we all managed to take them to the Champions League.

“The love I get from the people on the street, can’t be replaced by a big team fighting to win the Champions League.”