• IT
  • Home News

    De Rossi: “Best way to win. So much love from the fans”

    After Roma’s successful night against Feyenoord on Thursday, Daniele De Rossi spoke to the media about his team’s performance.

    Where shall we start?

    “It’s nice remembering everything that happened this evening. It was my first European night here at Roma as coach. It was amazing that it ended like this. I think it was a deserved win, especially given what we did in the first half. We really made it hard for them.

    “It’s maybe the nicest way to win. It was a very Roma way to win, a real nail-biter. But we shook off that fatalism. We have a saying that goes ‘never any joy’, but we’ve started to turn the page on that too.

    “We’re not the ugly ducklings. We can win. We’re a great team and I’m happy. It’s an amazing stadium.”

    At just 18 years of age, Svilar had already saved a penalty in the Champions League, setting the record for the youngest player to do so. He really has nerves of steel.

    “He’s young but he’s brilliant because he’s a level-headed guy. He was like that before, even when he wasn’t playing much. He’s backed by a team that really trusts him. Rui Patricio, who’s a wonderful guy, backs him too. I want to point that out.

    “When you do everything right, it can happen for you to guess the right way. It’s not just luck because he works really hard. We worked for it. Then there’s his flexibility, his timing, his nerves. He was really great.”

    What about Pellegrini?

    “It’s only right that he enjoys this and it’s only right that his name is featured on this wonderful evening. We live for nights like this. In the dressing room I told him that we’ve still got to play the round of 16 and it’s a bit early to celebrate too much.

    “But it’s nice that it was him because of how he behaves and the player he is. He had a few moments not too long ago in which he was criticised and doubted. That was a shame because he’s an example to the team and he’s a great player.”

    How different did it feel running under the Curva Sud? You did it many a time as a player. Was it different tonight?

    “It wasn’t an embrace but rather a thank you to the stadium. I had to go and thank them, that’s part of my job. It’s a bit embarrassing going over there now. As a player it was more natural.

    “I don’t want to go too over the top as we’ve still got the round of 16 to play too, but I had to thank them. When we arrived, they basically held the bus up. It didn’t touch the floor!

    “They gave us such huge support and they showed so much love. It’s always been like that. I’m trying to be a bit cooler and more restrained, but I don’t want them to think that I’ve changed too much. I’m holding myself back from leaping over the barricades like I did in my twenties, also because I wouldn’t be able to do it now!”

    Where are we at? Are you happy?

    “I’m very happy with what I’m seeing, especially as I haven’t been here that long. There are still lots of things to do. Teams still have to perfect certain things even after working together for ages. After so many years, you may have to work on the mental aspect too. You’ve got to drive players that hear the same voice every day for two or three years, a voice that keeps repeating the same ideas.

    “At the moment we’ve got to work on those ideas, on not doing too much damage or upsetting things too much. These are the ideas that led us to playing a first half today in which we deserved to have the lead.”

    Roma haven’t won a game on penalties at the Olimpico since 2002 in the Coppa Italia against Triestina. Do you remember who took the first penalty then?

    “I don’t remember it being the first. In my head, that match was more important than this one because it was one of the first matches in which I had to decide whether to put my hand up and take the penalty or watch the others do it.

    “That was the first time I proved something to myself, and not just by scoring. That game was like a Champions League final because I’d come up from the youth team so it was a new world to me. That was another great evening. Tonight was probably a bit better though.

    “Talking of penalties, I want to point out that we had six penalty takers ready to step up. That doesn’t happen in every team.

    “I’ve been part of some great teams, but there have always been players that didn’t feel up to it for one reason or another. Today we had to say no to Angelino, who wanted to take one. We had five players totally up for it. That’s a good sign, isn’t it? People always talk about [Gigi] Buffon wanting to take a penalty in the [2006 World Cup] final in Berlin. When your whole team is willing to step up, that’s a good sign.”

    You played brilliantly in the first half. Why didn’t Roma keep that up for the full 90? Are there still some new ideas to be learnt or is it a question of fitness?

    “There’s an explanation for each individual match, but it’s true we didn’t keep up the tempo of the first half throughout the game. It’s not easy when you’ve got opponents. We’ve got to remember that we were playing a team that is built for the Champions League. They have great players so they’re bound to have the ball every now and again.

    “We were brilliant today though. We gave a lot, even on a physical level. That high press we tried may have tired the lads out a bit in the second half. Then going until the 120th minute makes it even worse.

    “But we’ve got to work and find out why we can’t keep up that pace throughout. Even mentally, when our legs are worn out, we’ve got to hold our shape.

    “At the end, I saw everyone sprint to [Romelu] Lukaku, who would’ve scored if it wasn’t for that miracle the goalkeeper pulled off, so that shows they still had some fuel in the tank, and above all that desire.”