LECCE, Italy (Reuters) - Second-placed Lazio have struggled since the restart of the Serie A season and are not enjoying themselves at the moment, their leading scorer Ciro Immobile said on Tuesday after they lost 2-1 at lowly Lecce.
“Since we returned to play, we have suffered mentally rather than physically — it was obviously never going to be the same” he said, as they remained seven points adrift of Juventus who were playing at AC Milan later on Tuesday.
“I feel there is some anxiety because we can’t do the things we were doing three months ago. This takes away our serenity, we can no longer have fun because physically we don’t get where we want to go. “
Lazio were on a 21-match unbeaten league run when Serie A was suspended by the novel coronavirus pandemic in March and were one point behind leaders Juventus, but Tuesday’s defeat was their third in five games since last month’s restart.
The team have suffered injuries to several key players, exposing the squad’s lack of strength in depth.
“This shouldn’t take anything away from the extraordinary season we’ve had,” added Immobile, Serie A’s leading scorer with 29 goals. “The title dream will remain there until the maths say otherwise but it must not be an obsession. We have to be calm, and that’s not the case at the moment.”
Coach Simone Inzaghi said Lazio were concentrating on finishing in the top four to qualify for the Champions League, rather than ending Juve’s run of eight successive titles.
“The problem is we came back with problems and injuries. This has limited how much we can rotate the squad and some today have played not at their best,” he said.
“It’s natural to feel disappointed when you remember what we were doing before the break,” he added. “A few of the absentees would have helped us a lot.
“Our dream must continue and we have to qualify mathematically for the Champions League, and we hope to do that as soon as possible.”
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris