A 2-0 defeat away to Rennes concluded Lazio’s participation in the Europa League for the 2019/20 in what could be a blessing in disguise for Simone Inzaghi’s men.
Domestically, Lazio have performed admirably and went into the fixture against Rennes in need of a win, which looked straight forward against a side who had nothing to play for, but they were a shadow of themselves which epitomised their Europa League campaign as a whole.
Suffering four defeats in Group E – a group they were expected to win comfortably – Lazio didn’t play the way they have in Serie A this season. Looking back to the defeat away to Cluj, Lazio then they went on to lose home and away to Celtic.
There may have been an element of overconfidence, and underestimating opponents, with a sprinkling of indifference to playing on a Thursday night.
Going into the last game, Lazio were also relying on Cluj losing to Celtic and by having to depend upon a result in another game made the task much harder.
As a result of crashing out the competition, it is the first time since 2009/10 that they have failed to reach the knockout stages, having done so on six occasions during that time.
However, there is a case to be had for optimism surrounding Lazio’s exit. The priority for Inzaghi can now be on finishing in a Champions League place with the squad is lacking depth to compete on three fronts over a season, and having gone so close just two years ago.
A finish in the top four would ensure a return to Europe’s top table, and another step of progression under Inzaghi and crashing out of the Europa League may well be what was needed to push Lazio on.