Thursday February 18 2021
Ranieri: 'Lazio really impressed me'

Claudio Ranieri expects ‘a very different match’ against Lazio after Sampdoria won earlier this season. ‘We need the perfect performance.’

It kicks off on Saturday 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“We’ll be up against a great team that for several years now has been challenging for important targets,” said Ranieri in his press conference.

“Lazio will be eager to do well this weekend, but so are we, in a difficult and exciting match. They took a while to get into gear at the start of the season, largely due to injuries and COVID, but Simone Inzaghi is doing an incredible job. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto could play regularly in any of Europe’s top teams.

“It’s true they lost to Inter 3-1, but they had been playing well and it was difficult to defend against Romelu Lukaku in that sort of form. The Biancocelesti have genuinely impressed me this season.”

Sampdoria beat Lazio in the reverse fixture, taking advantage of squad rotation in the middle of the Champions League group competition.

They risk a similar approach this time too, as the Biancocelesti will face Bayern Munich in the Round of 16 next week.

“They are about to take on Bayern Munich, one of the best teams in Europe. I expect a very different match to earlier this season and we need the perfect performance,” continued Ranieri.

“We are slowly getting our players back into good shape, plus Lorenzo Tonelli returning from suspension, while Manolo Gabbiadini finally had a full week of training without problems.”