Simone Inzaghi says Keita Balde Diao has earned the right to be a Lazio starter ahead of Saturday’s trip to Udinese in Serie A.
Keita and Lazio were at loggerheads over the summer, amidst mutual accusations of dishonesty in contract negotiations, but the former Barcelona attacker has worked his way back into Inzaghi’s plans and left an impressionable mark on the Coach.
“If Keita’s fine, he can play 90 minutes of great levels,” the trainer said at a Press conference.
“I played him with my eyes shut last year. I’m here every day and I see how he works.
“He’s becoming more autonomous. He came on and made the difference, so I thought I’d put him in from the start against Empoli.
“By 65 minutes, he’d given everything and I replaced him. He worked well, he’ll be a starter and have his playing time increased.
“Patric had a little problem but trained well. He’s a player that when called upon has always done well.
“He’s a useful lad, who’s committed and will do well for the group. I think he deserves an opportunity.
“Cataldi dropped? Absolutely not, he is working very well and can carve out a very important role.
“At the moment we’re trying out Parolo and we have alternatives. If Patric plays, he can play in the three with Radu and Felipe as wide midfielders and Keita in attack. I have a good team.”