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Di Francesco on coaching style, man-management approach, targets for the season and more

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco expanded on his footballing philosophy, his coaching style, his tactical methods and much more during an event in Florence on Monday.

During a question-and-answer session with a journalist as part of the ongoing 'Festival of Football', the boss was happy to discuss a variety of aspects of his experience with the GIallorossi so far.

Read everything the boss had to say...

On pressure in football and at Roma...

"In 2006, I decided to take a step away from football. I was working in a seaside resort and that allowed me to switch off, but I missed the smell of the grass, the pitch, the dressing room. It was a unique feeling when I returned to Roma and I'm bursting with enthusiasm and desire. Is the pressure greater at Roma than at Sassuolo? Absolutely, but internally the pressure is the same for me. I have the same level of responsibility. The objectives are more important for people in the city, but I had the same responsibilities at Sassuolo too."

On how Roma are different to other teams...

"I had a few options but my feelings for a city that has given me so much were a very important factor. That gave me that extra motivation. It was the same when I was a player - I could have joined other big clubs, but I chose president Franco Sensi. I didn't have to think twice. I build up very strong connections with people and what they represent."

On the difference between playing and coaching...

"It's totally different. Footballers are focused on themselves and their performances. A coach has a club behind them - an entire team. You have to manage lots of players and it's not just about what happens on the pitch. You have to prepare training sessions and try to get people to believe in what you're saying."

On how he shuts out all the distractions...

"I keep myself very separate from everything else. I would make a lot more mistakes if I paid any attention to all the gossip. You don't win by making no mistakes at all, you win by making fewer mistakes than anyone else. In order to make that possible, you have to shut out all the distractions and focus on your work. You have to get all of the elements that lead to success working properly, especially in the dressing room."

On Edin Dzeko's comments after Roma's draw with Atletico Madrid...

"Very few people know about all the hard work that goes on. It's not just Edin - other players might find it hard to accept certain things too. Time is fundamental when it comes to getting a playing philosophy across. [Maurizio] Sarri is getting lauded now - and rightly so - but let's not forget where he came from and the problems he had at the start. The people around him were clever enough to give him time. Often, I might say the wrong thing after a game too. I don't go into the dressing room after the match, because I prefer to speak a couple of days later with a clear head."

On showing the right focus on the pitch...

"Personally, I like to keep my teams compact at all times. Defenders tend to be lazy when not in possession, so they need to be motivated by the coach. Forwards need to be positive, while defenders need to be thinking of the worst-case scenario all the time. If it gets to the point when a player is thinking ‘I wasn't expecting that', it means they can't play at the highest level and won't be able to score or prevent the team from conceding."

On the use of stats in football...

"I'm more interested in stats in the build-up to a game and during half time. In my eyes, the true tactics man and analyst is the coach. At half time in the AC Milan game, I moved [Radja] Nainggolan nearer to [Lucas] Biglia because of something I'd noticed during the game and that was backed up by the stats. Biglia touched the ball 50 times in the first half and only 20 after the break. That changed the game a bit."

On Napoli...

"[Maurizio] Sarri has taken a step forward - he's been working with the same team for three years and he's been able to get his playing philosophy across. He's changed their way of playing. Their biggest strength is in their link-up play down the right and left. Napoli build the play heavily down one flank, then finish off a move on the other. The three players never fall into a flat straight line, which creates more passing options. I will focus first and foremost on my team and on preventing Napoli from playing their game. It's going to be a crucial match, though every game is important. This one will have a special feel to it."

On chasing Juventus...

"Juventus are still the team to beat. Napoli and Roma are the ones that have got closest in the past few years. At Roma we've made the most changes and it takes time to get to grips with new concepts, but that doesn't mean that we can't compete. It's a shame we couldn't play the Sampdoria game, because that weighs us on psychologically a bit."

On Patrik Schick...

"I haven't had much of a chance to work with him in training yet but you can tell from the off that he has the instincts of a great player. He needs to adapt to our tactical system but I'm convinced that in the future he'll be a central striker. When he was with [Marco] Giampaolo at Sampdoria, he played his best football just off-centre on the right. He is left-footed but can play on the right, and that is an important part of my brand of football. He's a young lad and he might lack a bit of consistency, so he'll need to be supported as he moves forward."
Monday October 09, 2017
 
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