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Di Francesco confident Defrel just needs a goal to find his feet

Di Francesco's pre-Bologna press conference in full
Read everything the boss had to say ahead of the Serie A home meeting against Bologna.

The match at the Stadio Olimpico gets underway at the Stadio Olimpico at 20:45 CEST.

INTERVIEWER: What do you think caused Rick Karsdorp's injury?

DI FRANCESCO: "Rather than looking for someone to blame, it's about looking for ways of understanding the issues. We have some great professionals here to ensure that this doesn't happen again. I'm disappointed for the lad and I wish him the best of luck. It's a shame because we had high hopes for him and especially because his is quite a delicate position."

How is Gregoire Defrel?

"He needs confidence. He's a forward and he needs to score goals. We need all our players so he needs to rediscover his scoring form. He's sacrificed himself for the team a lot already and he'll continue to do that. I hope that his willingness to work hard for his team-mates and coach pays off for him. He needs confidence, he needs to be supported and he needs to start scoring goals again."

Will he play as a central striker on Saturday?

"I don't know - he might play as central striker or at right wing. He'll definitely be involved in the game. I'm going to evaluate all the players' fitness today, with one eye on Tuesday's match against Chelsea. That said, our sole objective at the moment is beating Bologna. After that, we'll think about everything else."

Will Edin Dzeko play? Is he tired and can you afford to rest him for a game?

"He wasn't at his brilliant best against Crotone but he was still dangerous. He hit the crossbar and he was always in the penalty box. I don't know whether I'll give him a rest - I'll think on it today and tomorrow."

Do you work closely with the performance coaches Ed Lippie and Darcy Norman? What role do they play in your plans?

"We're a team - I said that before Chelsea. The coach is the main figure of responsibility. Norman and Lippie are both great professionals and they spend a lot of time in Trigoria. They're here working from morning until night to improve their work and us as a whole. If we work together, with all the medical team and coaching staff, I'm sure that we'll achieve our results. Right now, we've had a lot of random injuries, but we want to take a constructive approach and figure out proper solutions.

"Lots of things are said that don't hold water, especially in a place like Rome. We stand united. We might make different decisions in the future, but right now my staff and I have huge confidence in the work these people are doing. Are the players worried about getting injured? Ask them when they're next here. They have great faith in what we're doing. I messed my knee up too in the 2000-01 season, when we won the Scudetto. It happens. It's a shame because the lad was coming back from an injury that he got before he joined Roma. It was due to a strange, unusual movement."

What decisions can you take in mid-season to change things?

"There are lots of scientific things that you look at to figure out where you can improve in terms of injury prevention. We're trying to do that together. We're not naïve and obviously people like to talk at times like these. Right now we need to work hard and speak less to find the solutions."

Are you excited to be facing your son? What do you say when you see each other?

"It makes me laugh because when I ask him if he's playing or not, he just says he doesn't know because he doesn't want to give it away. It's nice - it's kind of strange but it's exciting. It's weird speaking to my players about him and calling him Di Francesco instead of Federico. I'm very proud and really pleased with how he's doing. He can do better, but I hope he puts that off until after tomorrow's game!"

You've rotated the right-sided forward more than any other player this season. Is that a coincidence or are you still searching for the right fit?

"It's not a coincidence, it's a fact. [Patrick] Schick and Gregoire Defrel have been out so we've had to change it around a lot. [Cengiz] Under is a very interesting young player with great prospects. He's adjusting to the workload and the Italian league. While on the left I have a clearer idea and more experienced players, on the right I'm still searching for balance and the right players. That's the way it is right now and I'm sure it's something that will happen again many times - I can assure you of that."

Roma make more changes than any of the other big teams. Is that an advantage for your side? How big an influence does that have on your team's development?

"When it comes to development and rotation, I think it's fair to say that the players need to be rotated when they need to develop. That's the ideal way to make them develop as one. That said, when I pick certain players it's because I think they're up to the task and can do something for the team. In terms of whether it's an advantage or a disadvantage, that comes down to the results. I'm working hard to make sure we develop as one and get results. We have three games in six days coming up, so inevitably I'm going to have to make some changes. Lots of people have said the Crotone match was a scrappy, poor game, but I don't think there was any contest. Obviously what we lacked was the ability to finish the game off."

All of the players that have ruptured their ACL here have been under the age of 25 when it has happened. Do you take age into consideration when you look at these things?

"That's another take on it and we'll have a look at it because I'd not though about that. There are lots of factors. Prevention is key to improving the situation - we need to find a way of preventing injuries. We need more solutions and exercises that can help us improve on that."

Radja Nainggolan has been played both in attacking midfield and further deep this season. Where does he play his best football?

"In my eyes the important thing is that he plays, because he's a big player. He can play in lots of positions. He has the quality to pick up the ball between the lines, he has a dangerous shot on him and he's capable of getting forward. Obviously, he can always do better, but the most important thing is that he's there for the team, his team-mates and his coach. He could score more regularly - perhaps that's what he's missing - but he's been unlucky and hit the woodwork on a number of occasions this season. I'm pleased with how he's playing."
Friday October 27, 2017
 
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