Maurizio Sarri was pleased to be able to help out former club Napoli as his Lazio side’s 4-0 thrashing of Milan on Tuesday gave the Serie A leaders another boost in their title charge.
Sarri was born in Naples and managed the Partenopei between 2015 and 2018, who under Luciano Spalletti now look set to end a 33-year wait for Scudetto success.
Napoli’s lead at the top was 12 points heading into Milan’s game with Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico, and that remained the case following a rampant display from the hosts.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Mattia Zaccagni had Sarri’s men cruising at the break, and Luis Alberto and Felipe Anderson added second-half goals as Milan’s bid to close the gap to the Serie A summit to nine points fell woefully short.
While Sarri was keen to focus on his team’s performance, he also said he found pleasure in assisting his old club, telling DAZN: “We mainly gave ourselves a gift. We cared a lot for the standings and to show how much we have grown.
“If Napoli are well placed in the standings, for me it’s nothing but a reason for satisfaction.”
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The sparkling display against Milan was Lazio’s second straight league win and hoisted them from sixth up into third, just a point behind the reigning champions.
Aside from their impressive attacking performance, Sarri’s men picked up an 11th clean sheet in 19 Serie A games so far this campaign, equalling the club record for clean sheets at this point in a top-flight season.
Former Chelsea boss Sarri was delighted with how his team performed and suggested it may have been the best they had played under him since arriving at the club in 2021.
“In terms of technical, tactical enjoyment, today was one of the best,” Sarri added. “Perhaps the best.
“This group has always given me total availability and we can do well if we remove the flaw of not picking up away points against inferior teams on paper.”
The victory moved Lazio above top-four rivals Inter and Roma on goal difference, after their bid for Champions League qualification already received a big hand on Saturday with Juventus’ 15-point deduction for alleged false accounting.
Sarri hopes his side can maintain their momentum and continue their assault on the top four against Fiorentina on Sunday, saying: “At the final whistle, I thought that in a few days we have a very difficult match against Fiorentina.
“We must not think about the long term, but keep the adrenaline seen tonight also in the next matches. Unfortunately, this has sometimes been our flaw.
“We do the maximum of what we can do, then at the end of the season we’ll sum up. There are teams that are better equipped for me [to finish top four], but we still take it one game at a time and see what comes of it.”