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Gandini confident progress off the pitch will be matched on it

Chief executive Umberto Gandini believes Roma are capable of competing with all the sides around them at home and in Europe, as the club prepares for the second half of the campaign.

The Giallorossi currently sit fourth in Serie A as the midway point approaches, despite a recent defeat to Juventus.

And Gandini believes the team will learn from that setback as they look to kick up a gear in 2018 and beyond.

What's the feeling after the Juve game?

"The realisation that we can go toe to toe with everybody and we have a team that can compete right until the end of the campaign. We're capable of matching all the sides that are ahead of us at the moment."

Can Roma win the title?

"Firstly, there are so many factors that go into winning the title, not least our opponents. There are four or five teams in the mix at the top of Serie A, but only one can win it. Roma are competitive because the team has been put together well and is coached well. We have two players battling for every position in the starting line-up, we are able to change formation according to the situation and we play until the final whistle."

What about the Champions League?

"We've done fantastically to get this far and qualify for the knockout rounds, which is definitely a big achievement. Now we play against Shakhtar, who are opposition we should treat with caution - as are all the clubs at this stage of the competition. In any case, we won the right to play the second leg at home in Rome, so we have a slight advantage on the Ukrainians."

How long before we can consider Roma as one of the contenders for the Champions League?

"We've set out on a journey in which the new stadium is now on the horizon. Therefore, we will be able to access those revenue streams that so far haven't been open to us. We've achieved what was in [James] Pallotta and his investors' project: we've become one of the biggest names in Europe."

In other words, when the new stadium is built, the club can set their heights higher.

"Sporting results depend on so many factors, but undoubtedly the new stadium will increase our turnover."

How much do you regret selling Mohamed Salah?

"This was something Momo was mulling over, he asked for the move. It was a typical situation that developed at the right time with the right people involved. The deal was completed to everyone's satisfaction. Salah has then adapted very well to [Jurgen] Klopp's system, he's doing brilliantly there and he's also the main man for his national team, helping Egypt to qualify for the World Cup for the first time."

What needs to be done to get the Italian national team back to where it deserves?

"We mustn't judge the work of an entire season on one single game. When the draw was made and we were in the same group as Spain, everyone was convinced we'd finish second and go through to the play-offs. The problem is that we weren't in the best shape going into that match.

"We had some bad luck or, even, we didn't serve the slice of good fortune we could have had otherwise. And all this led to that world-shattering result. There's a simple answer to how we should begin again: hard work and bringing everyone together to focus on our football. Let's work on this system that has brought us great satisfaction and will do so in the future again. There are talents in Italian football that need developing."
Wednesday December 27, 2017
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