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Pioli: Lazio not ready for Champions League

Coach Stefano Pioli conceded Lazio are not ready to compete in the UEFA Champions League after watching his team lose their play-off tie against Bayer Leverkusen.

Lazio held a 1-0 lead heading into the return leg but that is as good as it got as hosts Leverkusen recorded a comprehensive 3-0 victory at BayArena on Wednesday.

Goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Admir Mehmedi put Leverkusen in front in the tie and after Mauricio saw red for the visitors midway through the second half, Karim Bellarabi completed the scoring with two minutes remaining.

The defeat consigned Lazio to the UEFA Europa League but Pioli had no complaints post-match.

"We [Lazio] lost because they played at a completely different pace, and we made too many mistakes," Pioli told Premium Sport.

"Bayer played better and created more, they deserved to win.

"Tonight is proof that we are not ready to compete on certain levels. We now have many other things to think about, but tonight we saw real football, and we are trying to get to this level.

"In Europe, the type of football is different. Last season we had a rhythm and intensity. Tonight we have to give credit to Bayer as they have shown they are superior, while our journey has just begun."