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    De Rossi: “Down but not out. A long way still to go”

    Daniele De Rossi had the following to say after Roma were beaten 3-1 by Bologna...

    That wasn't the usual Roma out there today. Your finishing wasn't as sharp and the ball didn't seem to want to go in. What's your take on the game?

    “That's correct. Maybe we weren't as sharp as we have been other times but we were up against a team who play good football. They make you look bad because they stretch you when you try to press them. They're not easy to close down as they move about so much – which is something we've been good at in most of our games.

    “You have games where you're not quite as clinical. There have been times when we've won matches taking nearly all of our chances and our opponents have had more shots than us. That's how it went today. Credit to Bologna because they weren't at all undeserving. They played their part. Looking at the statistics, it was pretty even. In the first half, while it was still goalless, we looked dangerous before they did. Sometimes you get the opener and it gives you an extra gear, a bit more energy that perhaps we could have done with.

    “We got a bit worked up but we can't let a wrong yellow card [for Leo Paredes] – because it wasn't fair – get to us like that. We didn't lose because of that but we can't get worked up by it. That and the goal we conceded right afterwards knocked us off track a little. But the lads kept performing till the end."

    Do you think the team might be a little tired mentally?

    “No, because that would be a big problem. We're adults, we're experienced and we've been doing this job for a long time. We're used to dealing with positive emotions and we must be used to dealing with negative emotions too. Up until now we'd always done well in matches against our direct rivals. We've had a pretty gruelling run of matches and we'd dealt with them well from a mental perspective.

    “We didn't have the best of games today. In the second half, at 3-1, Bologna looked like the better team but for the rest of the game and in terms of chances, I think it was evenly balanced.”

    Do you think the team got a bit carried away mentally and ended up wasting energy?

    “Yes, I was a player myself and it can happen that you get worked up but it shouldn't affect the way you play your game. Having said that, if you look at the numbers and the performance, we were always in the game. Perhaps we weren't not quite as good as usual but the lads never let up.

    “If we want to be perfect and if we want to keep this run going, which as far as I am concerned started three month ago, we need to be able to manage different moments. I'm not only talking about not getting worked up over a yellow card. An experienced team shouldn't concede in the 44th minute and should realise that after getting it back to 2-1 the inertia of the game was in our favour and we had time to equalise. Conceding that third goal took the wind out of our sails.

    “I have no complaints about my players other than to explain the mistakes they make, which we'll try to improve. Our general attitude – leaving aside getting worked up – was what I'm used to seeing from these lads and I thank them for that.”

    How important is it to have a player like Sardar Azmoun firing again?

    “We have some very good forwards with different qualities. Tammy [Abraham] worked hard today. You can't always be at your sharpest when you come back from such a long lay-off. There are always ups and downs after an injury.

    “Azmoun has only just returned himself so I didn't think it was wise to throw him straight in from the start. I knew they'd play part of the game each. I'm pleased he scored because he's an important player for us, a quality player. He's different to the other two strikers and he'll be a big help for us, as Tammy is – and he worked his socks off last Thursday.”

    How will manage the squad with Udine, Napoli and Leverkusen coming up?

    “We haven't had much help in managing our energy, but that's another matter and there's no point going back over it. It's not really about the physical energy when you only have to play 20 minutes. Another training session in Trigoria would probably be more tiring. It's more about the mental fatigue caused by the journey and the fact we have to prepare another game in just two days. That won't be easy. We'll pretend it's a Europa League game, which we always play on Thursday, and just get on with it.

    “We've lost a match and we're down but not out. There's still a long way to go in Serie A and in Europe. There are two more battles separating us from the final. We're playing a team that's yet to lose, perhaps the only one in the world. We know it will be difficult but we're very positive, apart from the result tonight.”

    How big a threat are Atalanta in the race for the Champions League spots?

    “We're wary and respectful of everyone. They're behind us, with a point less and a game in hand that they'll play at the end of the season once everything's been done. We know it's a difficult road – it has been since the start. Our problem was not the number of points between us and fourth place but how many teams were ahead of us.

    “When you have lots of teams ahead of you, one of them can turn out to be a bit special, like Bologna, and go on an incredibly long run. The likes of Atalanta can get back in it and Lazio are now three points away. We need to keep pushing. There aren't many games left and they'll all be difficult. We knew we'd have to face lots of top sides. Sometimes it goes well and sometimes you have to give kudos to your opponents.”