De Rossi: You can see the impact Di Francesco has had
Club captain Daniele De Rossi spoke to Sky Sport Italia on Thursday afternoon at Trigoria, ahead of the weekend Serie A meeting with Sassuolo.
The midfielder discussed last weekend's defeat against Juventus among a number of other topics.
Read everything he had to say below.
You were on the receiving end of another defeat at Allianz Stadium last time out. Is it a mental problem or do Juventus simply have better players?
"Juventus have great players. The fact that they have won the title six years in a row shows that they are better than the other teams. Just look at the players they had on the bench - they have a fantastic squad. We played our own game. We were better after the break than we were in the first half, but it's normal to find it tough against Juventus. A draw wouldn't have been an unfair result and it would have shown our start to the season in a different light."
Medhi Benatia put everything into going for the ball when he scored, while the Roma defence seemed a bit static. Does that sum up the match?
"Benatia was the one who passed [Patrik] Schick the ball in the last minute, so he was the one who looked a bit static then. He's a friend and I know he's a top player. When I played it to [Alessandro] Florenzi and he hit the crossbar, two Juventus defenders blocked each other. You can look at these situations in many different ways, but we just didn't take advantage of them.
"Any conclusions you make about the team based on them are overly influenced by the result. I think we got after them pretty well and tried to be aggressive, as we'd planned. Sometimes it works against the big teams, sometimes it doesn't."
Does this Roma team seem mature and ready to win to you?
"Winning is a long process. It's not a word that should be abused - I was taught that by a coach that I really respect: Antonio Conte. Winning is about the day to day in training. It's about your attitude, your life and then what happens on the pitch. You can't base your ambitions on one match against a very good side. We'd like to catch them up but they cause problems for everyone."
What's the most important thing Eusebio Di Francesco has brought to the team?
"I could just talk about our points tally. Last year we had a magnificent coach and we had a fantastic season, but this season we could get to halfway with more points. He's having a visible impact in terms of the way we go out and get at every team we play. We're doing really well from that point of view and our defensive solidity has improved too."
What's behind the team's struggles up front recently?
"I don't have an interesting answer for you - it's a team thing, it's about details and it's about providing support to the attacking players. Perhaps we've been a bit unlucky or felt a bit tired, but I don't think there's a serious problem. We're not creating so many chances and when the data shows a pattern you can't point to misfortune. We have some great strikers and they'll start scoring again. We'll give them a hand from further back."
Edin Dzeko had a bad first season and was magnificent last year, but he does have these bad spells. What do you make of him?
"It's simple - he's a top player who makes an incredible contribution to the team even when he's not scoring. Even the best strikers can get it wrong. He's the type of player that needs to be in the box and requires good build-up play and balls getting played in to him. He was scoring goals from 30 yards last season, but it's not always possible to recreate that type of form. I think he's having a great season and has decided some important games for us."
Do you think Juventus or Napoli have the edge in the Scudetto race?
"It's been two years that I've been saying that Napoli have had the best prospects given the way they play, but Juventus are still up there and I'll go with them as the favourites, then Napoli and ourselves. It's a long season and there are going to be lots of head to heads. We need to keep pushing forward and go toe to toe with everyone. Inter are there too. We've dropped a few points recently and now we have some must-win games because we want to cut the gap."
Do you like Francesco Totti as a director?
"I preferred him when he was 28 or 29 and still playing - he didn't make me work so hard then! I used to give him the ball and he'd win us the game. He's settling in well to his new role, partly thanks to his great relationship with Monchi, which is helping him to feel at home. I think that was what he was afraid of - doing something that he didn't feel comfortable doing. But he's found himself in the perfect position."
What do you think of VAR?
"It's not perfect at the moment but I think it will make it a lot easier for us to accept decisions in the future. I love American football and technology is the norm there - it's part and parcel of the game and there are never any protests. It's the right decision but it'll take a bit of time. There will be some debatable decisions because the rules are open to interpretation in football, but it will dispel all the doubts there have been in Italy over the years."