Inzaghi backs players after dramatic Europa League exit

Lazio conceded three goals in four minutes to leave their Europa League ambitions in tatters, but boss Simone Inzaghi defended his side.

Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi   -  Getty Images

Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi refused to criticise his players after they crashed out of the Europa League in dramatic circumstances to Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday.

Ciro Immobile had looked to have booked the Italians' last-four berth with a fine finish 10 minutes into the second half, putting them 5-3 ahead on aggregate.

However, Munas Dabbur set up a stirring comeback by cancelling out that strike just two minutes later before Amadou Haidara, Hwang Hee-chan and Stefan Lainer all scored in the space of four minutes to complete a remarkable turnaround.

Instead of castigating his side afterwards, Inzaghi believes it will be a valuable experience for his fledgling players.

He told Sky Sport Italia: "The difference is that we had the same number of shots on goal today, they scored four and we got one. We'll learn from this and it'll help us to grow.

"It was an emotional journey. It's a shame we couldn't give them this semi-final, which was right there in front of us.

"I don't think we were defensive this evening at all. We had the scoring opportunities and simply didn't take enough of them. The two goals they scored in Rome were also somewhat fortuitous, but we move on.

"I am sure it'll be another step in the growth experience, as let's not forget we have many young players in their first European campaigns."

Midfielder Senad Lulic was less diplomatic in his post-match interview, describing his side's failure to progress as "inexplicable".

"Everything we were meant to not do, we ended up doing," he said. "It was such a good start, but we crumbled and it's just inexplicable.

"All you need at this level is to lose concentration for 10-15 minutes to concede four goals. You pay for that.

"I don't think it was a physical issue, but a psychological one. We had a total black-out and everything went wrong. We should've controlled the result better."

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