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    De Rossi: “Everyone was superb today – we have fantastic footballers”

    Roma saw off Monza to rack up their sixth win in seven league matches under Daniele De Rossi and move to within a point of fourth place awaiting results elsewhere.

    Here's what the boss had to say after Saturday's 4-1 victory!

    What can this Roma team become?

    “This was tonight's Roma. Now I have to work out the Roma for Thursday. If these lads can perform as well as they did today, they can play like this every game, because they're fantastic footballers.

    “We have to focus on the near future: on Thursday, on the game after that and then the one after that.”

    How have you managed to create such a close-knit group in so little time?

    “Clearly it was close-knit before. I haven't done anything. This is a team that reached back-to-back European finals after going on fantastic runs. You can't do that without a close-knit team.

    “I'll keep working first with human beings and then with footballers. I try to be honest, truthful, up front when I see something I don't like. And then I coach. I pick the team. The lads are fantastic with me and I'm really happy to work with them – not just for the work side but also for the way they make me feel.

    “Obviously I had a bit of a head start because some of them used to be my team-mates so they were already well disposed when I joined. They pretended I was their coach but maybe they helped me partly because of what we had when we were team-mates together.”

    What work have you done with Lorenzo Pellegrini? His performances and stats speak for themselves.

    “We've worked physically, tactically and technically. I've tried to share my idea of football with him. I really believe in this style of play but I also know that you have to be very fit to put it into practice. I like the fact he played better today than he did the previous game, and that time was better than the ones before.

    “I like the fact that the whole team – not just Lorenzo – is taking my ideas on board. They understand how much effort, how much running and off-the-ball movement it takes to play this type of football, which we did very well today. Otherwise it's just playing without an end product.”

    You're doing an incredible job – 20 goals in the last seven game, the best attack. I think you've created the right conditions for these players to fully express themselves. How much of your work is in these 20 goals?

    “I hope a lot of it is down to our work but I don't know. I try to field a fairly attacking team because I know I have players who can score at any moment. It's not that I have a word with Pellegrini in training and tell him to go on that run he did. But then the second goal – [Romelu] Lukaku's - is something we practise a bit more.

    “I think our players have got certain qualities that we have to exploit. I try to organise them in way that gets the ball to their feet and where possible close to the goal.

    “When I talk about the performances of individual players helping us go on this run – which is still nothing yet – you might think I'm talking about Dybala's free kick, or Lukaku's goal, or the fine goal Pellegrini scored. But in this team when a player gets injured – and hopefully it's nothing serious – you turn around and you have a Turkey international waiting to come on, a player I'm not giving playing time to but who always trains at 200 miles per hour and when he comes on he puts in a performance like Zeki Celik did today. Those are the individuals I'm talking about – the individuals who are less visible, who will make fewer headlines tomorrow but who ultimately help you win, help you finish where you want to finish, help you win the league or keep you up if that's what you're fighting for.”

    If we want to find a negative, your defence was less than perfect in the first half. You know how important the little details are and that's something you'll have to work on.

    “Absolutely. Even in the best performances there's always something to work on. Today we didn't concede a goal from a cross from the byline but we nearly did in the second half, with a chance right in front of goal. A couple of long balls caught us napping too.

    “We have to work on everything but I think we're already seeing some improvement in staying compact as a unit, in pressing high and also in the reading the game defensively. It's definitely not enough and when we play against top teams they'll make it hard for us and make us pay if we're not perfect.”

    The best thing for Roma fans is seeing Dybala fit and playing well consistently.

    “Yes, we're pleased with his day-to-day work: he's working and enjoying it. When he's not working and is recovering he watches and supports his team-mates while they train. He sets a fine example but it's not just him – I could say it about any of them. They're brilliant. Obviously in his case, besides his professionalism and having found his fitness again, he's also displaying his talent, which is unique. There's no denying that.”

    Roma hadn't got two strikers into double figures since 2017. Is that important to fire the team into the Champions League?

    “We all need to score. We need lots of people in the box to score. But inevitably in any team you need your stars to weigh in they way they are doing. But as I said, I don't like talking about the forwards because I think everyone was superb today.

    “I always like to point out how well the substitutes played. The stars can only carry the team if they've got the right support behind them, a solid spine and the right attitude from everyone.”