Inzaghi struggles to put finger on reason for Lazio collapse

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Lecce v Lazio - Stadio Via del Mare, Lecce, Italy - July 7, 2020 Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

ROME (Reuters) - Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi struggled to put his finger on the reason for his team’s collapse after Serie A’s second-placed side slumped to a third straight defeat and their fourth in six matches on Saturday.

After seeing his team lose 2-1 at home to Sassuolo, Inzaghi talked of the difficulties of resuming their campaign following the three-month coronavirus stoppage and lamented the number of injuries his side have suffered, but refused to use them as an excuse.

“The team is not performing at its best psychologically,” he said. “We mustn’t give up, it’s a delicate moment and the sort of thing we haven’t experienced for a while. We have to look beyond this game and move forward, despite these setbacks that weigh heavily on us.”

Lazio enjoyed a 21-match unbeaten in the league before the coronavirus pandemic brought Serie A to a standstill in March and Inzaghi pondered what might have gone wrong during the lockdown when the players had to train at home.

“Maybe (mistakes were made) but there’s never been a break like that and it was difficult to know how to start up again,” he said. “The players trained at home via Skype during the lockdown but when we started again, the injuries starting coming.”

“We have lost players like (Lucas) Leiva, (Danilo) Cataldi, (Adam) Marusic, Luiz Felipe, (Joaquin) Correa and (Bobby) Adekanye, who are six fundamental players.”

“We are playing every three days and I have to field the same nine or 10 players,” he added.

“Today, Sassuolo were able to change nine players in their starting line-up. The absences have harmed us but that shouldn’t be an excuse.”

Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar