Read everything the boss had to say ahead of Saturday's trip to face Sampdoria in Serie A.
The game at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris gets underway at 20:30 local time.
The boss was asked about the fitness status of a number of players, the future of Nicolo Zaniolo, his respect for Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo and more...
Can you give us an update on the injury situation?
“[Davide] Santon will have a scan today and I fear it could be serious. He's indestructible: he plays through anything and never stops so if he did, it must be something serious. [Diego] Perotti's problem is not serious but he's not available for this game. [Stephan] El Shaarawy is fit and he'll be in the squad. [Javier] Pastore is working on his fitness but isn't ready yet. [Alessandro] Florenzi will return to group training next week.”
What positives are there for Roma to take after the game against Fiorentina?
“I understand that a point may seem like a small return but given the situation we were in, the fact we played as well as we did – and improved in the second half – shows the lads are in good shape, physically at least. Sadly it's often the mental side that makes you feel tired or less positive. However, we came from behind twice and that shows the lads are doing well mentally and I'm very happy with them.”
Is Patrik Schick's past at Sampdoria an extra reason to pick him tomorrow?
“Sure. Coaches have lots of important things to consider and that's one thing I have to assess.”
Is Daniele De Rossi ready to play 90 minutes?
“We have to see who is available. A lot of the lads don't have 90 minutes in them yet. Daniele wanted to play the other day. He's a fighter and he can help us a lot in the run-in.”
Cengiz Under came on as a substitute against Napoli and Fiorentina. Is he ready to start now?
“He's working very well but he can't play 90 minutes. I have to decide my starting line-up between tonight and tomorrow.”
Can you say that Nicolo Zaniolo is a key part of this club’s long-term future?
“He has said time and time again that he would love to stay at Roma. The lad has a contract until 2023. I understand that these things are very interesting to a lot of people but the club has no intention of selling him and he has no intention of leaving. Let’s leave it until July for a new contract. Right now it isn’t possible to extend it, the regulations don’t allow it. Let’s all stay calm. The lad does not want to leave and Roma want to keep him – I hope that this will be end of this discussion.”
Who will play in goal: Robin Olsen or Antonio Mirante?
“Mirante played well on Wednesday and I think I'll stick with him. Otherwise they would both be unhappy. I'm reluctant to change. I wanted to give Robin a bit of a rest but I rate him very highly.”
Can Cengiz and Justin Kluivert be decisive with their youthful exuberance? What do you think of the moans when Justin was substituted?
“I don't know if the moans were for him or for me because I was taking him off. I made a mistake because I should have substituted Diego [Perotti]: he didn't have 90 minutes in him and I made him go on for longer. I'm happy with Kluivert. He's young and it's not easy to leave the comfort of your home and come to a big club like Roma. If you look at his performance on Wednesday, he provided the assist for our two goals. He's important for us. He's an electric player with an impressive burst of pace. He and Cengiz will be very useful between now and the end of the season.”
Do you think fourth place is still possible?
“I think the Fiorentina game was a confidence boost for us and I want to see more of that against Sampdoria. It will an important match to understand what happened against Fiorentina.”
How is Edin Dzeko doing?
“Edin played well on Wednesday – he showed desire and determination. He didn't score and we all know how important goals are for strikers. He hasn't scored as many this season but strikers can have a so-so season. His movement is good and he helps the team. Perhaps he's been a little selfish on a couple of occasions but strikers are a bit like that: when things are going well, they'll pass to a team-mate; when they're not going so well, they're desperate to score. I'm happy with him and I hope he's ok because he's taken a lot of blows.”
What will Roma need to do against Sampdoria?
“I have a lot of time for Giampaolo. His teams play very good football and press well. We must be careful and move the ball up the pitch quickly, otherwise we'll be playing into their hands.”
How is Lorenzo Pellegrini?
“He's ok but he can't play 90 minutes yet. I have to decide whether to start with him or use him from the bench. You all saw how the game changed when he came on. He's very clever and he can play in the hole, which is a difficult position. He's quick enough to get away from his marker and has stamina. He's an important part of this Roma team.”
Now that Kostas Manolas has completed his suspension, who will partner him in defence: Ivan Marcano, Juan Jesus or Federico Fazio?
“All three are very good players. Fazio was superb in the second half against Fiorentina and looked like the Fazio of old: determined, aggressive and winning duels. Juan Jesus has always done very well when I've called on him. Ivan is an intelligent lad and perhaps the best at building play. All three of them can partner Manolas.”