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Di Francesco confirms Karsdorp will make debut against Crotone

Di Francesco's pre-Crotone press conference in full
On Tuesday afternoon coach Eusebio Di Francesco faced the media to preview the Serie A meeting with Crotone at the Stadio Olimpico.

The game gets underway at 20:45 CEST.

QUESTION: Roma have one of the best defences in the league. What does that statistic mean to you?

DI FRANCESCO: "It means we have to improve at home and concede less. Besides that, it's not all down to the backline, who have played excellently, it's a team effort. We're good at reading the game and defending as a unit. The credit should go to the team block for their ability to shift in a certain way."

How are Patrik Schick and Rick Karsdorp?

"Karsdorp will start tomorrow. Schick meanwhile will continue his recovery programme."

You arguably didn't create enough in the opposition box against Napoli and Torino. What does the team have to improve upon?

"We have more one against ones than anyone and we win them so we need to keep that going. We're second for crosses in the league after Inter and we get into the box fine, we simply have to get more numbers into the penalty area. We had more than 65% of ball possession against Torino and we created lots of dangerous chances albeit just lacked something in the final third.

"Sunday's victory wasn't a scrappy win like the one against Atalanta but we definitely should have played better in certain areas. The win though came down to our football and our mindset more than anything else. We hit the post and the bar against Napoli in the second half which shows we got into the box and with a touch more determination we could have achieved more. We also created a lot against Chelsea. We've fashioned plenty of openings in every game apart from Atalanta. That shows we're on our way to becoming a top team."

Is it time to rest Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Dzeko too?

"I don't think I'll leave either of them on the bench tomorrow night. They're important players in terms of their attitude and playing style especially from a mental perspective. They might play against Crotone and then I'll assess things ahead of Bologna."

Do you consider rotating your side one match at a time or will you do so to have your first-choice starting XI ready for a big game like the Chelsea one?

"I always try to pick the best possible side. When you play regularly you have to check people's fitness levels and workloads. I will select the side I feel is best equipped to beat Crotone. Now it's time for the league. We have to take six points from our next two matches. Games like these are never easy and Crotone produced a miraculous escape last term under the stewardship of a skilled coach. At this moment in time my mind is on Crotone which I believe is the first important match to win."

Give us your take on the stickers in the Curva Sud. Do you think clubs should do more to rid football grounds of things like that?

"There are authorities who will deal with that. It's a cultural matter. It's ridiculous we're here in this day and age discussing anti-semitism, perhaps as people that didn't live through certain situations. I am thinking a lot about Anne Frank myself today. I think it's all crazy."

Are you preparing the team for Schick's return? Would he play out wide like Gerson and Radja Nainggolan have in the last two outings? Or have they played there ahead of him being paired with Dzeko?

"Schick needs to return to full fitness. He can play anywhere. Schick mustn't change the squad's philosophy. The team has to keep the same mindset - compact and aggressive with a willingness to get forward. I think he's an excellent player who still needs to return to full fitness. He's not 100% but I'll gradually introduce him because I think he could be an asset for us."

Where do you plan to play Alessandro Florenzi?

"He's shown that he can play at both ends of the pitch. Lest we forget he was out for 10 months and he's already played a lot considering that. I'm delighted with how he's performed. He struggles to play two matches in quick succession though. I will pick him based on the opposition. Alessandro is an asset as indeed Schick will be."

How far along are Federico Fazio and Kostas Manolas with their injuries?

"Fazio could be available for tomorrow and we'll assess him during today's training game. If he comes through that he will be involved tomorrow. The aim is to have Manolas ready for Chelsea. It'll be either Chelsea or Fiorentina. He's making excellent progress though and we're optimistic."

What do you make of Claudio Lotito's suggestion of visiting Auschwitz?

"I'm delighted and I might even go along with them. It's a question of culture and to have that sensibility you either need to have studied or relived certain tragic events of the past."

After four months in the job, how is Eusebio Di Francesco's Roma coming together?

"I'm delighted with the team, squad and working environment. I believe we have made huge strides. We weren't coming off a bad run by any means but the idea I want to put across is coming through both domestically and in Europe and that's what matters most. Four months is nothing. We have an important game tomorrow and we have to find consistency in terms of our approach and performance levels. I'm convinced that results will follow. I won't give myself a mark out of 10. I'm pleased but I'm not happy yet."

How much room for improvement is there?

"The thing I demand the most is consistency over 90 minutes. At times we slow down our chances of hurting the opposition. This is work that takes hold over time. We don't have it down rote as yet but the players are gradually getting to grips with it. Karsdorp will play for the first time tomorrow but he hasn't yet had enough time to get to grips with what we're working on. Hector Moreno has also admitted that he used to work on man making whereas now he works with the ball, which is why these things take time. I hope that Karsdorp can buy into certain ideas as quickly as possible."

Could we potentially see Daniele De Rossi and Maxime Gonalons play together?

"We might have against Napoli as I was about to go with that option. Not today, not tomorrow but we'll see for other games. Either one or the other will start tomorrow."

Gerson and Cengiz Under have both played well when called upon. Could this be the game to see them both start?

"Maybe. They could both potentially start."
Source: As Roma
Tuesday October 24, 2017
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