Roma Women boss Betty Bavagnoli believes the time has come for her side to pick up their first ever win over AC Milan, as the two sides prepare to meet in Serie A on Monday afternoon.
The Giallorosse are currently in a three-way battle for second spot in the league – but are now entering a potentially crucial run of games in that race, as they travel to Milan before hosting second-placed Fiorentina at home the following week.
Two victories in those games would be a hugely important leap forward for Bavagnoli’s side – just as two defeats would be a significant setback – but the coach is confident her side are heading into the games in the right frame of mind.
Roma started 2020 in winning style, beating Pink Bari 3-0 in the Coppa Italia last weekend.
“The start to the year we’ve had has really helped with the training, the team spirit, the confidence and the focus of our group,” Bavagnoli told Roma TV.
“The girls are working hard, when you are winning you are always a bit calmer and more motivated and you tend to work better.
“We are facing a very strong side, a side whose ability everyone has recognised since the start of last season. They have great players and a top coach and it won’t be easy, but I see my side and my girls and I think they are growing and developing in an interesting way. I’m expecting an even game, one in which we’ll do everything we can to bring home a result.
“We’ve never won against Milan but we’ve never been badly beaten, so I’m confident we can do well this time.”
Midfielder Vanessa Bernauer is adamant the time has come to make a dent in the side’s record against the Rossonere, which currently reads three defeats from three meetings.
“Milan are a tough side that so far we haven’t been able to beat,” Bernauer added.
“It’s time to change that; if we want to reach our targets and finish as high as possible then we have to beat teams like Milan as well. The hard work we’ve been putting in during training, along with the performance we put in against Bari, has helped our confidence – so let’s see what happens this time!”
The Switzerland international believes the Giallorosse need to improve in front of goal in order to take the next step forward – although, after scoring nine goals in their last two games, that adjustment might already be happening.
“The first half of the season went well, generally I think we can be pleased with what we’ve done,” she said.
“There were some good games, some bad ones too, but I think overall we can be pleased – even if we need to get better in front of goal and be more clinical.
“Considering the chances we’ve created we haven’t scored many goals so this is something we need to improve, so we kill off games.”
Monday's game gets underway at 12:30 local time.