Di Francesco: You can't concede a goal like that

Read what coach Eusebio Di Francesco had to say following Roma's 2-2 draw with Cagliari on Saturday evening...

Marco Sau scored in the fifth minute of injury time to grab a point for the Sardinians.

The players seemed intimidated by the atmosphere today...

“My team tried to kill the game off for 70 minutes and I get angry when I see some of the mistakes we make – when players make the wrong choice and go for goal instead of passing to a team-mate. That leads to situations like this. It's absurd. I don't even want to talk about tactics. We had some highly experienced players out there today who should never concede a goal like that.

"You have to put games to bed. Put the ball where you need to put it without trying anything daring or risky, as we did today. Things like this knock your confidence and it's got nothing to do with tactics. When you're playing 11 v 9 you have to be capable of reading certain situations, keeping the ball away from the goal and holding onto what would have been a huge result.”

Is it all a question of character?

“You get times in a game when you have to dig in – there's another team out there too, remember. We'd barely given them a sniff and we could have gone 3-0 up. There were situations where we could have done better. We dominated the game then in the last 20 minutes our opponents' anger and frustration came to the fore and we weren't able to hold them. I changed a few things around because I saw we weren't able to keep possession any more. We weren't thinking straight and lost our positions. We switched to a man-marking system too but if you don't stay alert you'll concede goals.”

Where do you go from here?

“We've used the carrot and the stick already this season. I didn't have many options today. I had lots of kids on the bench plus [Javier] Pastore and [Diego] Perotti, who aren't at their best. When Cagliari equalised we had five experienced defenders on the pitch. Sometimes there's little for the coach to explain. I do have to take responsibility, though. I'm absolutely gutted about this result. It was in our hands. It was an absurd game: you can't concede an equaliser in the last 30 seconds playing 11 v 9.”

It's not the first time something like this has happened, though...

“You have to analyse things on every level. We've often shown character flaws in games like these. After we conceded the first you could see we were frightened of keeping the ball up front. We find it hard to do certain things. The situation is what it is. We have lots of players missing. Our leader, [Daniele] De Rossi, has been out for the last 40 days. In games like this having players like him out there is a big advantage. You'd need a time-out to explain things.

"The ideas I'd put across at half time were no longer valid because we didn't end the first half well but we were excellent at the start of the second half. But then from the 70th minute onwards we were too weak mentally in reading certain situations.” 

Can you explain your substitutions? The three changes meant the team sat deeper – is that something you felt you needed to do? Didn't it allow Cagliari to get too close to your penalty area?

“The team's identity remains the same. I brought [Luca] Pellegrini on because I didn't have many players. [Davide] Santon didn't train a lot this week. Let's not start creating demons – it doesn't help. When I brought on an extra defender against Lazio we went 3-1 up.

"They were pushing up with their full-backs and I wanted to protect a 2-0 lead, which I thought was enough for a team like ours. But we showed some pretty major mental shortcomings. Next time if I have the chance to make more changes I will.”