Lazio stars struggling to accept back-to-back Celtic defeats

By David Walton

November 12, 2019

Lazio stars Thomas Strakosha and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have hit out with some pretty petty comments after their back-to-back losses to Celtic.

The Hoops secured Europa League last-32 qualification with a 2-1 success at the Stadio Olimpico last Thursday. At the same time, it leaves Lazio’s own hopes dangling by a thread, and they have to win their last two games to have any hope of qualifying.

Celtic proved over the course of both 2-1 wins against Lazio that they were every bit as good as the Italians. And the second win also showed that the first was no fluke either.

Celtic managed back-to-back wins against Lazio (Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

But someone may want to tell Strakosha and Milinkovic-Savic. Here’s what the pair had to say yesterday via the Scottish Sun:

STRAKOSHA: “The results in the Europa League lie. By that I mean, they don’t reflect on how well we have played. Of course we should have done better in the competition, but the scores don’t tell the whole story.”

MILINKOVIC-SAVIC: “We treat the league in the same way as we play in Europe. The difference has been we simply have had no luck in the Europa League. We didn’t play badly against Celtic, we just lacked luck in both games. The ball just didn’t seem to want to go into their net and of course they then went and scored with almost the last kick of the ball.”

An unfair picture being painted

Of course the Lazio players are always going to see things from their own perspective. But the picture they’re painting here is totally unfair on Celtic.

Milinkovic-Savic talks as though we managed to smash-and-grab a result in Italy. However, the stats according to the BBC had Celtic managing 43% possession and 12 shots on goal. In comparison, Lazio only had three more strikes with 15.

Thomas Strakosha had no answer to Celtic’s quality in Italy (Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

The Lazio midfielder is also clearly forgetting the close-calls from Mohamed Elyounoussi and Callum McGregor. He’s also seemingly allowed the Odsonne Edouard one-v-one miss to slip his mind too.

In the home game at Celtic Park, the BBC have Celtic managing 50% of the possession and banging in 14 shots to Lazio’s 10. They were two competitive and evenly-matched contests.

Unfortunately, both Lazio stars evidently feel as though Celtic got away with both results. But it was more than luck that allowed Neil Lennon’s team to sail through the group. We were simply better than Lazio, and didn’t make anywhere near as many mistakes as they did across the two games.

Milinkovic-Savic may want to try and remind us of all of these chances that Lazio apparently had too. Saying the ball didn’t want to go in our net suggests they banged on the door incessantly.

Celtic scored two late winners to down Lazio in back-to-back meetings (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

But the truth is big Fraser Forster only had a few real saves to make in Italy. Outside of Luis Alberto and Valon Berisha efforts, there was nothing overly-troubling that had to be dealt with.

Celtic now progress knowing that it was more than luck that seen them through in Italy – they had a whole load of quality to go with it.