Stephan El Shaarawy admitted Roma had been made to work hard for all three points on Monday night, as Claudio Ranieri’s second spell in charge at the club got off to a winning start.
El Shaarawy and Patrik Schick scored the goals, as the Giallorossi ran out 2-1 winners against Empoli at the Stadio Olimpico.
Roma, who were without a number of key players through injury and suspension, held on through a nervy finish to take the victory.
“It was tough going at the end but we’ve taken three points from a tough game,” El Shaarawy said afterwards.
“We needed heart, team spirit and real determination to do it – just as the coach wanted from us.
“The goal was important for me, to continue my recent form… but it was more important for the team. We are happy with the win tonight.”
El Shaarawy was asked what Ranieri had said to the side – while he was also asked what it felt like to wear the captain’s armband for the first time, following the late red card to Alessandro Florenzi.
“The coach asked us for a few different things – the shape was a bit different for us tonight, but we adapted to it as the boss asked us to,” he said.
“We did some things well, some things less well, but in the end we got the three points. We need to take this same spirit into every game.
“It was a great honour to wear the armband even for just 10 minutes – it was a great feeling on top of the goal and the win.”