Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri said on Saturday that he felt more pressure before a third-division derby match than he does ahead of his first clash with rivals AS Roma.
The two capital clubs lock horns in Serie A at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday in what will be Sarri’s first taste of one of the fiercest derbies in European football, but the former Chelsea and Juventus manager is showing no signs of nerves.
“This is one of the most important matches in Europe, it is an honour. Everyone as a child dreams of experiencing a Rome Derby. Roma are very strong, this will make us more focused,” Sarri told a news conference.
“The pressure from the media does not correspond to the pressure inside the dressing room. The match I have felt most pressure from was Sangiovannese against Montevarchi, the Tuscan derby in Serie C, a century-old rivalry.”
Sarri was appointed by Lazio in June, but his side have started the season in inconsistent form, as they make the transition to the new coach’s style after years playing in a different formation under former coach Simone Inzaghi.
The Biancocelesti were held to a 1-1 draw by Torino on Thursday, stretching their winless run to four games in all competitions ahead of the clash with Jose Mourinho’s Roma.
“It is normal to lose some games, but I do not see a lifeless team, I see them full of life during the week,” Sarri said.
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“They are training well, but there is something preventing us from expressing ourselves 100%, also on a technical level, the percentage of successful passes is low.
“This is not the PlayStation; this is real football, with 25 brains. The path is complicated for teams like us who want to play a collective game.
“Some teams take less time, others more, and some never succeed. We hope to be one of the teams who do succeed, and to take as little time as possible.”