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Di Francesco: The boys executed our plan brilliantly

Read everything the boss had to say in the wake of Wednesday's 3-3 draw with Chelsea in the Champions League.

The boss believes the side showed a positive response to Saturday's disappointment against Napoli, while reserving special praise for two-goal hero Edin Dzeko.

You saw Roma dominate away at Chelsea, but besides that Edin Dzeko's performance was a great show of character...

"Dzeko is born to score these goals. He has undoubted quality and he's been too often criticised, unfairly too. Beyond the goals he scored, I'd also point out the help he gave to his team-mates - that's something that made a difference. Every now and again he tends to wander into the channels, but I want him to stay centrally when we attack. He did that very well today and this allowed us to be very aggressive in the face of our opponents."

Do you regret not picking up the win?

"We were naïve at times when we played the ball. I'm thinking more in terms of our ideas - they weren't technical mistakes. We made errors which led to the first goals, in the decisions we made, for instance when the full back looks for the one-two on the inside, rather than on the outside. But watching the game, we created a great deal and we did so with quality."

Are you starting to enjoy fighting for this Champions League?

"We've been fighting in the league too, where we've played a game less. Against Napoli in the first half we didn't show the attitude that I wanted, the one I saw today. Even though they were leading 2-1, we had almost 70% possession and were almost always in the opponents' half. That shows we came here to play our game.

"Against Napoli, however, in the first 45 minutes, we didn't manage that - partly because of how they played and partly because of us. But in the second half we saw the attitude that was on show today. Tonight's match shouldn't make us presumptuous but aware of what we can do. We're a team who, when we work in a certain way, all together, as I want us to, can be very successful."

Aleksandar Kolarov is perhaps one of the best-value buys of the summer? Whose idea was it?

"It was everyone's idea. In addition to the player he is, we took a punt on the man and the professional. He's an example to others in his preparations for training and for matches. He's not young any more, but he's got great quality which, combined with his consistency, makes him devastating at this moment in time."

Having trailed by two goals, did we see the mental strength of this team?

"I can assure you that during the game, even when we were two goals down, I could see the team putting into practice everything that I'd asked of them. We set up to keep pressing their centre backs, pushing the wide players up, inviting them to play the ball inside. It's natural when you don't score that you can slip up and your opponents score. I'm truly satisfied with the performance. There's a bit of regret because when you perform like this in games of this kind, you need to take the result home."
Thursday October 19, 2017
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