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Di Francesco's pre-Fiorentina press conference in full

Read everything the boss had to say ahead of Sunday's important game in Florence...

The match at the Artemio Franchi gets underway at 15:00 CET.

Where do you think Roma have improved most in this recent run of games and where do you need to improve further?

"We're looking very solid and I'd like us to maintain that. People complained we weren't scoring many then we went and got three against Chelsea. Let's continue as we are and stay tight at the back. It's a shame we have another international break now as I'd have liked to carry on working with everyone together. I'm pleased at the moment but let's see how it goes tomorrow - it will be a very difficult match."

It's always tough to go to Florence. How do you contain enthusiasm after beating Chelsea?

"A win like that should boost our belief but we mustn't ease up or start thinking we're world-beaters - that's the first thing I tried to make the players realise. Tomorrow I want them to play with the same grit and determination as they did against Chelsea."

Alessandro Florenzi will wear the captain's armband for the first time this season if Daniele De Rossi doesn't play tomorrow. How is he doing? Javier Zanetti said he sees a bit of himself in him...

"For Alessandro to be captain, he needs to play when De Rossi doesn't. We'll look at things today. Personally I don't think Florenzi and Zanetti are similar players but they do have similar personalities: they're both very willing and both have a strong sense of belonging. Technically and physically though, I don't see them as similar."

In a recent interview, Monchi said Roma shouldn't be afraid to talk about winning the Scudetto.

"He's right. We have to make up some ground but our aim is to be right up there at the top. It's still early days but we're close with game in hand. We must try to win a very tough match tomorrow."

After Chelsea, De Rossi said that Roma have changed their approach to games like this since you came in. Was that harder to achieve mentally or tactically?

"The most important thing is to get your ideas across and show your players the benefits to be gained by playing a certain way. We learnt a lot from the match against Napoli. When you play great teams, the further away from the goal you keep them the better it is. Obviously you will give some chances away, like against Chelsea, but we want to be in the opposition's half. It takes a lot of practice to hone certain movements."

Have you ever been close to the Fiorentina job?

"I was in the past, yes, and I was honoured but it's in the past now. I'm delighted to be here. Both as a player and as a coach I chose Roma with all its pros and cons. I like it here."

People said Roma could only score through Edin Dzeko. Now he's scoring a little less regularly but you're still winning games. Is that a good thing or is Dzeko a bit tired?

"It's an excellent sign if he's not scoring and we're still winning. I'm delighted with Edin's overall contribution to the team. The goals will come for him again - perhaps even tomorrow. His contribution is crucial. The way your strikers harry the opposition is vital."

Will you make fewer changes than last time for tomorrow's game?

"I don't know, that's something I need to consider but sometimes you have to factor in certain necessities. The Chelsea game was very tiring so I'll weigh up my options and we'll certainly make a few changes against Fiorentina."

Did you expect Stephan El Shaarawy to improve this much?

"When I played him on the right against Inter, he couldn't play on the right. Against Chelsea he scored two and had a superb game. When a player matures, he's able to put the coach's instructions into practice and make his presence felt both in possession and when not in possession. I'm delighted with his performances but he can do even better. I'm happy but still want more from him."

Kostas Manolas will miss Greece's next match for a booking that was considered to have been intentional and the Lazio fans from the Curva Nord will be allowed into the Curva Sud again. Do you think Italy is lagging behind in terms of fair play?

"Yes, we are a bit behind but you get people who think they're smarter than everyone else abroad as well. There are official bodies whose job it is to judge these things. I haven't seen Kostas' booking but in the olden days - which everyone keeps harking back to as a better age - that sort of thing went on all the time. We've come a long way and we have a better footballing culture now, but we can improve further."

De Rossi and Kevin Strootman clocked up more miles than anyone else against Chelsea. Might they be rested for this one?

"It doesn't mean anything - in fact, it shows you how fit they are. But you can run less if you run well. Midfielders need to put in the miles, otherwise they wouldn't be midfielders.

"I'd like to add that Emerson will be in the matchday squad for the first time this season. We're happy for him. He's done everything he needed to do for his rehabilitation and now he's ready for the bench. I'm very pleased."

Can we consider El Shaarawy, Dzeko and Diego Perotti as your first-choice front three?

"No, we'll change depending on the match. Edin will definitely play tomorrow but I still have to decide on the other positions. We've focused more resting than working hard since Chelsea. I still have to make up my mind up for other positions."

[Belgium coach Roberto] Martinez has recalled Radja Nainggolan but says he sees him as a No.10. What do you think?

"I don't know what No.10 means. For us he plays as a 10 from midfield. I'd give him number 10 if we played with shirt numbers from 1 to 11 but every coach as their own view of things anyway. He's not scoring as many this year but he's had chances to. He'll start scoring and playing like a No.10 again. I'm pleased for him that he's been called up but Fiorentina is all I'm thinking about and if he plays he'll have to produce a top performance."
Saturday November 04, 2017
 
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