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    De Rossi: “Proud of the lads – they played like a real team”


    Daniele De Rossi shared his thoughts with the media after Roma were edged out at home by Inter.

    This is what he had to say...


    Is the key takeaway from this game that Roma want to play good football?

    “Yes, we do want to play good football. I think there are lots of positives to take from this match and a few things we need to learn because if we want to match these top teams we can't afford to lower our guard – because they have quality in their ranks and they'll make you pay.

    “I think it was pretty evenly matched for most of the game, with a few spells when they were on top, mainly at the start of the second half, and a few spells when we were better. In any case, I'm proud of my players' attitude. They gave their all and the crowd recognised that too. When the fans recognise your efforts, it means something – they don't do it just to give you a pat on the back.

    “I'm proud of the lads because they played like a real team against very good opponents. I think we're on the right track.”

    How much of it was decided by individuals? There was that quarter of an hour when Marcus Thuram turned the game around and those two chances for Romelu Lukaku.

    “It's easy to point out the negatives and it's easy to point the finger at a single player. I think football is all about moments. And you win and lose games as a team. Eleven players – and me – let up a little at the start of the second half. If you do that against Verona or Salernitana, you can win the match because you're better than you're opponents. If you do it against Inter, you can lose the match.

    “I don't like this game of finding someone to blame. I didn't like it when I was a player and I don't like it now. Everyone did their bit. And if Roma played well, as I think we did, it's thanks to everyone. And if we lost, it's because we were all inferior to Inter, although not by much.”

    Roma made a strong start and managed to score twice against a team that had only let in ten in 22 matches. Your game plan was to keep Angelino a bit narrower and have Stephan El Shaarawy playing a bit deeper. He was superb in the first half, defending and breaking forward into space with his quality.

    “We decided to defend with five to mirror our opponents, partly out of respect for them because we knew how good they were and we didn't want to allow them the width they get with Lautaro [Martinez]'s lay-offs and their ball circulation. So we decided to defend with five.

    “The only risk was that Angelino doesn't have the typical physique of a left centre-back, but we wanted to use his ability to play out under pressure and I think it worked to a degree.

    “We did well. Stephan did well. We knew that we'd need to counter, that we'd need to be bold and that there would be times when we'd be under the cosh and we'd have to play on the counter 'like a small team', because that's another way you can win games.”

    What do you take away from this defeat?

    “We take away a match to analyse. We'll analyse our fitness, our play and our choices.

    “I'm a disciple of Luciano Spalletti's. When people praised us because we'd lost but played well he'd say, 'There's nothing to praise. You lost at home and you have to work on things.'

    “You can rarely say a defeat was totally undeserved. This wasn't undeserved. Inter weren't undeserving. It might have ended in a draw but Inter weren't undeserving. If we want to compete with a team like Inter, an excellent team, we have to raise our game and become perfect by analysing the defeat.

    “If we go away 'happy' because we played well but lost, that's a recipe for mediocrity and we that's not what we want.”

    It was quite similar to the Verona game in that you started the second half a bit deeper and the opposition came onto you, then you ended the game playing in the other half. Why the see-saw mentality? Do you need to improve in dealing with those games within the game?

    “Yes, we need to improve. I have to improve. Clearly we didn't press the right buttons at half time. We prepared for the game knowing that there would be lots of different games within the game.

    “If you went into this match against Inter not thinking you'll have to dig in at some point, that you won't be pegged back at all during the 90 minutes, you'd be living in dreamland. As things stands at the moment anyway. But I think when you get those moments, when you have to dig in, you have to keep chipping away, keep pressing the ball carrier, never give him freedom, because otherwise they'll start pinging it around and you'll never see the ball.

    “We need to be perfect ourselves. Our defensive movements were good all game but then we got mixed on Angelino's own goal. We ended up with Paulo Dybala sprinting 70 metres to defend a cross into the box. That's one of those little things we need to work on. You have to be perfect against teams like this, otherwise they'll score against you.”

    Is the Europa League a priority for you? Do you think you're up to it?

    “We have to be up to everything. We're not inferior to anyone. If you look at the teams in the Europa League, there are some big names, some clubs with great squads, but we're just as good. We must keep working.

    “We don't need to play everyone; we just have to beat Feyenoord. That's our goal. We have two matches, the first of which will be at a cauldron of a stadium. We must be ready for it physically and mentally, because it's going to be tough.”