Spalletti: The players responded like professionals should
Luciano Spalletti said some aspects of his side's performance were "perfect" in the wake of Roma's 3-0 win over Bologna on Sunday.
The Giallorossi completed the season double over Roberto Donadoni's side thanks to goals from Federico Fazio, Mohamed Salah and Edin Dzeko - and Spalletti was particularly pleased with his players' response to their cup disappointment in midweek.
See what he had to say in his post-match interview...
You've produced an important reaction after a tough week.
"That's right, and you have to congratulate the team for that. The players acted like real professionals. They accepted the disappointment, trained hard and turned up here to play a match under difficult circumstances. The temperature today was incredible. They were perfect."
Do you still believe you can overhaul Juventus?
"We just need to focus on doing as well as possible. We have some tough matches coming up - some look more manageable and others look like we'll have to fight, but either way we need to prove how good we are on the pitch. We needed to get into the habit of playing to the same standard constantly."
You had a lot of joy in winning the ball back and showing character to get the team moving forward today.
"I agree, especially in midfield. We played with two stronger full-backs to stop their attacking wide men from countering today, because they're all quality players. That was the key - we had to manage the game and defend well in order to maintain our balance and ensure we didn't get into trouble. Apart from a couple of balls we were perfect. [Toni] Rudiger and [Juan] Jesus had great games."
You combined quality with quantity today - it's testament to the great job you've done in what has been an extraordinary season with very few dips. What more do you have to do to stay here?
"We have seven games left to decide the league table and potentially get everything we want. Obviously, if we do well over the next seven games, the season will have a different taste to it, regardless of the tough defeats we've had. They're difficult watching them on television, but when you're the coach and you have to bear the weight of them on your shoulders, it's another story - especially the cup defeat.
"It's clear that there are lots of positives to the season, but we have to focus on doing well over the next seven games and then we can take stock. The biggest thing is how many points we've picked up since I've been here in comparison with Juventus, AC Milan, Inter and Napoli. We've done lots of things well, but our character needs to improve."
You said that you didn't raise the stakes enough for the derby. Do you still think that?
"I know my players well. They've played lots of matches and sometimes the tension does drop. You have to keep telling yourself that you're not tired and that you can win, regardless of who you're playing. You have to keep a cool head and stand strong and that's not easy in the season we've had. I think I should have built last Tuesday's match up even more than I did."