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    De Rossi: "We must be balanced and use the ball well”

    Daniele De Rossi sat down with the media on Wednesday afternoon to discuss Roma's Europa League play-off second leg against Feyenoord.

    Find out what the boss had to say...

    How will the teams' approach be different to the first leg? Feyenoord will have their best player, Santiago Gimenez, back in the starting line-up.

    “If they get two or three players back, it could raise their level as a team, but I think both sides might go with a similar approach to the first leg. We drew so there's no big advantage – neither team needs to score a certain number of goals to go through. It wouldn't be surprising to see the match being played out in a similar way to the first leg, at least initially.”

    Roma have had eight different goalscorers since you took over. Do you think it's fair to expect Romelu Lukaku or Paulo Dybala to score the goals in this game, given that they are the stars of the team?

    “I think if we analyse what the players are contributing we should look beyond who gets the goals. For you journalists it's the most obvious thing, the easiest statistic to look at for a striker or an attacking midfielder. I look at the performances and they're doing what I want of them, as all the others are. They're buying into what I want from each and every player. I'm happy with them. Our goal is to reach the next round, whether or not they score.”

    There will be a record attendance of 67,000 on Thursday, 400 more than when Roma hosted Feyenoord last season. How much could the Olimpico factor influence the game, even though it's still 11 versus 11 on the pitch?

    “You can't help but be amazed by it. When I first came back here, we said we needed to recreate the unity, since there was some discontent and divisions. We wanted to recreate that unity and get everyone back to the stadium. We know we can't fit anyone else into the ground and we're happy about that. It gives us extra responsibility. But it would have been the same thing even if we'd had a few thousand fewer.”

    This is the first crossroads you've reached as Roma coach, with qualification on the line. How much difference does the result make to you at this point of your tenure?

    “Well, it is a crossroads because it's a make-or-break match. We could get knocked out or progress to the next round, as we all want, so it does make a difference. We feel an extra level of excitement as you do when it's do or die.

    “I've played lots of matches in my time. Now I'm a coach I have to think about different things but I still prepare games the same way: based on what I see on the pitch. I prepare the same things I would if I wanted to win a league match.”

    Could Evan Ndicka play tomorrow? We saw Chris Smalling make his return against Frosinone. Can you only play with three at the back with him in the team, as we saw in that game, or was it just a coincidence?

    “Ndicka is ok. He had one session with the team then he had flu for a couple of days and stayed at home. He's better again now. He trained with us again yesterday, though it was a recovery session. He's not fully fit but he's available and will be on the bench in case we need him.”

    “As for Chris playing in a back three the other day, it was because I wanted to make a substitution that would allow him to come on. My aim was to get him back on the pitch and give him a feel for it again alongside his team-mates. We were in a fairly comfortable position at the time. I wanted to bring him on and we switched to three at the back so that we could take off a tired player.

    “In any case, Chris can play in a three or a four. He's done all sorts. I'm certain he can play in a four-man system and it might happen one day that we need to play with three and he'll remember perfectly well how to do it.”

    I'd like to understand the thinking behind your team selection for this game in certain positions, especially on the left, Angelino or [Leo] Spinazzola, [Stephan] El Shaarawy or [Nicola] Zalewski. Will you consider their playing time or something else?

    “As always, I'll make my decisions based on what I think will win me the game. I'll make choices on the left, on the right and in the middle to help us get the result we want.

    “There are always multiple factors to consider when you prepare for a game and when you prepare for the previous ones if they're very close together. I'll choose the players I think can win me this match, and the next one and the one after that.”

    Lukaku has a habit for turning it on in the Europa League and it's a competition he's scored lots of goals in. Dybala is the most talented footballer in your squad. Is it up to them to lead Roma into the last 16?

    “I think that regardless of tomorrow's game, of our game, we need all the players. There are plenty of examples of teams with amazing players who try to lead their team but don't succeed because the rest of the team isn't working, or vice versa.

    “You can have a great team with great players but if someone's performance is not up to scratch, you might not achieve your goal. They'll play of course and they'll be very important for us, as they have been until now.

    “People always expect big-name players to score a goal or two, or to produce a stunning piece of play, but all that I'm interested in is Roma going through. For that to happen, they'll need to be involved in the game, as they have been so many other times. Maybe someone else will score, maybe they'll set someone up, maybe they'll help us regain possession quickly and score.

    “It really doesn't matter to me. I'd be happy for them as I know it's important for strikers to feel decisive but who does or doesn't score really makes no difference to me.

    “As for the fact we've had eight different goalscorers, yes, it's nice but it doesn't matter. If we win, if we play well and maybe have the same player scoring all the time, that's fine as well.”

    Roma have scored lots of goals since you took over but only managed two clean sheets. Is that a worry for you tomorrow? Is it normal to concede more if you're attacking more?

    “No, it's not normal. And clean sheets only tell half of the story because we got one against Frosinone but they deserved to score in the first half. The reason we got a clean sheet was partly poor finishing and partly Mire Svilar having an outstanding game. But I don't see it as a clean sheet because we came under too much pressure. Ironically we conceded four goals against Inter but in the first half they barely got close to our goal.

    “A clean sheet tomorrow would be important because it would mean we'd be certain to go at least to extra time but more importantly we need balance. I don't ask my team to be super-offensive and take all sorts of risks. Against Frosinone a lot of their chances came when our defence was in position.

    “Our first objective is to be accurate with the ball when we have it, so that we lose it less often. If we keep it more, they'll have fewer chances to score.

    “The main thing is we must be very alert defensively because Feyenoord are a team that play well, create lots of chances and score goals. They've scored in I don't know how many games running and have only conceded recently against us, so it's going to be a difficult match. They're a good team so we'll have to deal with pressure as always but we must maintain our balance and be good at playing our own game when we have the ball.”