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The boss's pre-Chelsea press conference in full

Read everything coach Eusebio Di Francesco had to say ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Chelsea.

The game at the Stadio Olimpico gets underway at 20:45 CET, with both sides knowing the result could have a significant impact on the final standings in Group...

JOURNALIST: In London for the first leg we saw the best version of Roma. Are you going to play with the same attacking mentality or, as Fazio said yesterday, with more patience?

DI FRANCESCO: "I'm not sure what Fazio said. We did not just play an offensive game out there, at least not without also being smart and balanced on the pitch. I hope we will play with the same approach, maybe we can also be more effective and take more of our chances.

"But we need to be balanced, we need to take our approach to the game two weeks ago as a starting point and then continue accordingly."

What is Patrik Schick's condition?

"He has been reporting some pain when he kicks the ball, so he had new tests which did not show any major problem. But we are evaluating that and studying it carefully, he is working on a personal program to resolve the issue. Either way, tomorrow he will not be included in the squad list, and we will assess for the next game against Fiorentina."

What do you think of Fazio's renewal - and what does he bring to the squad?

"I'm happy that he has renewed his contract. He is one of the leaders of our defence and has shown that game after game. Some thought he was not able to play in a four-man defence, but he has proven that is not the case. He is strong in defence and also good on the ball. He is improved a lot and works hard in the way I like - he is a very important asset to the squad."

Tomorrow's lineup: given the rotations, can we expect to see the likes of Maxime Gonalons and Radja Nainggolan?

"Radja will be starting. Other than that, from my point of view I'm not going to tell you the starting line-up - I'm not going to give advantages to everyone else. I want all my players to be ready to perform, tomorrow I will pick the team that gives us the best possible chance of beating Chelsea."

At the moment we seem to be speaking more about injuries than games? What's going on? Is it a coincidence, or more?

"I don't believe in coincidences or bad luck. We have to look at Bruno Peres separately, who got injured in a very specific part of his hamstring. In general, however, we are working hard on solutions. But regardless of what you all are saying, I only have one thing in mind - tomorrow we are playing Chelsea, in front of our fans. It will be a great atmosphere and I hope the team will make them happy.

"We will put the other stuff to one side, we are looking at it but that investigation is something private that we don't want to share right now. But I don't believe in coincidences."

Is Gregoire Defrel ready to play?

"With both Defrel and Kostas Manolas, they will train today and afterwards I will make my assessment on whether they are able to be in the squad or not."

Do you expect Conte to play with an extra midfielder tomorrow?

"Well, David Luiz played as a midfielder in that game in a 5-3-2 - he has a different profile, of course, but he still played in that position. Watching their latest games I expect him to play with two support strikers. However, we are preparing for the game as we did in the first leg as we knew there was the possibility to play with this formation from the very start of the match. Something that might change it is that N'Golo Kante is back - he is a very important player for Chelsea."

You are not going to tell us anything about line-up - so how about tactics. After Bologna you said you changed the defensive marking?

"I changed things only defensively - going from zonal marking to man-marking based on the characteristics of my players. I might change again in future, or play with mixed marking. But the most important thing is you don't improvise changes, you keep stability for your players as much as possible. Defensively we keep trying to find new solutions to defend the opponents and how they move."

Against struggling teams Roma has been solid defensively, but not so against bigger teams...

"Well, it's impossible to never concede goals. I think the good thing is we are conceding very few chances. Alisson made a great save against Bologna, but other than that he has not been tested much lately - which is proof of the defence and the team's defensive effort. Whenever you concede there are mistakes, but also when you score there are mistakes - usually the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins the game.

"Against Inter it was a positioning issue, against Chelsea there were a few more individual errors and mistakes with the ball. As things go on, I hope we can concede fewer and fewer chances."

Reviewing the stats, Roma tops a lot of charts in Europe. Are Italian teams back at the highest level? Also, what do you think players feel about the rotation?

"I think what has improved is the mindest. Whenever you press high up the pitch it is because you want to keep your opponents away from the goal as much as my possible. This is my philosophy. But we don't try to play offside, we are compact and try to be proactive in gaining the ball back.

"I know players want to play three games in six days but it is not always possible to play at 100 per cent for it. Even players like Radja, who can perhaps play more games than others, now and again they need to take a rest."
Source: As Roma
Monday October 30, 2017
 
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