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    De Rossi: “An important win. These lads have so much heart”

    Roma got back to winning ways against Genoa on Sunday evening, thanks to Romelu Lukaku’s and guaranteed a sixth-placed finish.

    Here’s what coach Daniele De Rossi had to say after the clash...

    Genoa made it hard for you in the first half and you didn’t manage to find your rhythm or width. It’s just as well that Stephan El Shaarawy waited. You seemed to get angry because he wasn’t warming up.

    “No, I got angry with myself. There was a communication problem. I perfectly remember not saying his name although I was thinking about it. He didn’t warm up because I hadn’t told my assistant to get him to warm up, but in my head, it was as if I’d said it.

    “We didn’t find our width because we changed things a bit. We played more down the middle and had more bodies in the central channel. In recent games, we’d faced too many counters and that’s how we tried to set up.

    “It’s true that Genoa are a tough team to play against because you need to get your width from your full-backs, but we did create some chances. We had maybe 100 shots from the edge of the box without finding the target. It was a hard and tense contest against a side that rightly played the game as if their lives depended on it. I like the fact that we’re changing in Italy in this regard. It’s an important victory that shows once again that these lads have so much heart. We went down to ten men and managed to get the goal with the touch of a champion. That’s what was able to save the game for us because we couldn’t play differently with a man down.”

    Will you do everything you can to keep Romelu Lukaku?

    “No, I’ll do everything I can to make this team better. Every year, the coach sits down with the sporting director, president and all the assistants to try to improve the team. Even Inter, who have been the best side, will try to strengthen further. That’s what I’ll do.

    “Then there are constraints, budgets and things to respect, just as there are at any other team. We haven’t spoken about this yet in detail. I don’t know what we’ll be able to do yet, but we certainly will do it while trying to make Roma a team capable of finishing a bit higher.”

    What does sixth place mean for this team? Are you already targeting a higher finish?

    “I think so. At Roma you always have to try to finish in the top four. It’s not easy to get there and we have no right to do so. You can choose to take two of the teams above us out so that we’d come fourth out of Inter, AC Milan, Juve and then one of Atalanta or Bologna, who’ve been brilliant this year. Then you have Napoli, Lazio and Fiorentina below us, so there are so many strong sides. We need to work hard to get into the top four.

    “In our history, we’ve been in that sort of position for many years and we need to get back to being that team again. It’s not impossible. I don’t think there are many better teams than us. It depends on how you play, how you build the team, how games go over the course of the season and how consistent you are.”

    You’ve tried to work hard on counter-attacks, but they could’ve hurt you this evening because Genoa broke with pace and quality.

    “Yes, we thought that [Albert] Gudmundsson might even play as a mezzala, as he’s done a few times. Sometimes he’s played as the second striker, but he’s one of those players who gets into the playmaker position, waits for the team to win possession back and then he gets you running back towards your own goal. We therefore thought that having more players in there could help us be a bit more compact with a team block.

    “It wasn’t a great first half, but we did have our chances. We tried to play our game, but we got a lot wrong on the edge of the box. We lacked quality in terms of our finishing because we often played off Romelu [Lukaku] and kept shooting over the top. Genoa are a strong side. They drew with AC Milan and put in an incredible display against Lazio. They could’ve scored a few goals in the first half. They make life hard for everyone, ourselves included, as we conceded four against them in the reverse fixture in a one-sided contest.”

     Do you have player profiles in mind for your brand of football? Are there profiles that you would like to bring in?

    "I have thousands of names! It’s a huge job because I get calls from 2,000 agents every day. Journalists call me saying we’ve signed this one or that one. I do look around, but thankfully, I had so many things to be getting on with, such as the Europa League semi-finals and therefore, I didn’t have time and, to some extent, I wasn’t interested in looking for such profiles.

    “I have done what I’d call some healthy amateur scouting on my own at home and with my staff. There will be a sporting director who’ll have 10,000 names if I have 1,000! We’ll talk it through and understand each other. I know exactly which attributes this squad needs because we are lacking.

    “Based on the players who’ll stay and who’ll leave, as well as the alternatives that we’ll have, we’ll see who the right names are. It’s not enough to make a list of ten names and sign all the best ones. We need to understand how to fit them into the squad.”

    So do you really need 1,000 names? Does this squad need to be strengthened or does it need significant improvement to make the jump in quality?

    “I’ve said since day one that there’s a strong squad here. It’s a squad with few players who dribble, few players with great pace and the ability to play one-on-one on the wing. They are, in fact, the players who’ve made it hardest for us in the games where we’ve struggled the most. I remember the struggles we had against [Jeremie] Frimpong over two legs against Bayer Leverkusen.

    “That’s a characteristic that the team is missing. We’ll also see who wants to stay and who doesn’t, along with the opportunities that come up. I’m not being mysterious, but I haven’t even spoken to the sporting director about it in great detail yet, nor with the ownership. It would be premature to name names and it wouldn’t be correct to do so on television anyway.”

    Did Paulo Dybala go off through injury?

    “He was absolutely fine. He’d trained well in the last two days. He just didn’t have more than 30 minutes in him. I took him off just for a tactical reason because [Alberto] Gilardino had put [David] Ankeye on and I wanted to get Rasmus Kristensen on, as he’s taller. We kept staying deep and digging in, so I tried to send on a taller player with a more defensive approach.”