Simone Inzaghi feels Lazio did more than enough to deserve victory against Sampdoria and now ‘want to relish the opportunity’ to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
A lone Luis Alberto strike in the first half proved decisive at the Stadio Olimpico for their seventh Serie A win in eight rounds.
“This was a very, very complicated match. Sampdoria are in a good period of form, we controlled the first half and should’ve scored at least one more goal,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“We did very well for an hour, then Samp came out and caused us problems. The team was focused in defence, we know this is an emergency situation where we have to grit our teeth, but considering the overall football, shots on goal and chances, I think we fully deserved the victory.”
The Biancocelesti barely rotated their squad this afternoon, but when Vedat Muriqi came off the bench, he missed an incredible sitter. Inzaghi was asked if the ‘reserves’ are anywhere near the standard of his first XI.
“The reserves as you put it are the ones who allowed us to get through to the Champions League Round of 16, which was not to be taken for granted at all, and continue to do well in Serie A. Since the lockdown last season, we’ve never been a full squad again. When we had the full team, we challenged for the Scudetto or put together six wins in a row.
“I have no complaints for the new players, we know that we have to introduce them gradually to the existing unit. We had two main aims this season, which were to get through to the last 16 of the Champions League and remain in the competition for next season, even though we’ve got some big clubs against us.”
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic also wasted a golden opportunity when being too generous to set up Muriqi rather than go for goal himself.
“Sergej knows we really need him when off the ball, as we play with two strikers, two attacking wing-backs to spread the opposition defence, so Luis Alberto and Sergej work really hard in those roles on and off the ball. He’s always tight, always in the right position, I am very happy with him and he just needs to carry on like this.”
Lazio are still in the running for a top four finish and will be up against Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday.
“We aim to improve every year. Obviously, it’s difficult to do that after trophies and reaching the Champions League Round of 16, but we have to aim higher and keep working to improve ourselves.”
Bayern have a lot of injury problems too and this afternoon lost 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.
“They were the only club in the draw we didn’t want to pick… They are champions of Europe and the world. They’ve got a few problems, so have we, now objectively this is an uphill struggle, but we want to relish the opportunity and to be honest I would’ve loved to experience it with a packed stadium. The union that had been created between the fans and the team before the lockdown was unique. Now it’s over a year into this awful pandemic and we’re still here.”