Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri was delighted with his side's second half display against Lazio, after recovering from an early goal to cruise to a 4-1 victory, and reclaim the top spot Juventus had temporarily taken from them.
But it was Lazio who started the much brighter, and speaking after the game to Premium Sport (via Calciomercato), Sarri confirmed: "In the first half they had the physical edge over us, we were a little nervous because of the Ghoulam injury."
Grande vittoria dedicato a nostro fratello @ghoulam.faouzi— Koulibaly Kalidou (@kkoulibaly26) February 10, 2018
Forza Napoli sempre
Forza Ghoulam fratello mio
Bravi ragazzi #koulibaly #koulibaly26 #kkoulibaly26 #napoli #forzanapolisempre #teamkk26 #teamrkell #teamkoulibaly #famiglia #difendoLaCittà pic.twitter.com/nY0Laeywqz
The Italian was referring to the news that their integral left back Faouzi Ghoulam had received further setbacks in his recovery from a knee injury, with his side showing their support before the game for the Algerian with commemerative t-shirts.
In what was an action packed game, Sarri was also banished from the sidelines just before half-time after overly berating the officials following a challenge from Milinkovic Savic.
The tactician admitted: 'In the second half, we started to play the right way and things opened up for us. I was lucky to watch the second half from the stands, I enjoyed it.
"At half-time I tried to calm the players down a little since I was upset because of my sending off. I told the referee that the MIlinkovic foul deserved a red card and not only a yellow card."
Italy were some team in the 1930s... https://t.co/YB69VZnBgK— 90min (@90min_Football) February 9, 2018
However, he would not be drawn into any public bashing of the VAR system, which has come under fire in recent weeks in Italy, simply declaring: "The league is trying it at the moment, I am sure we will get to use it in a more effective way in the future."