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Di Francesco considers Cengiz for start after recent progress

Di Francesco's pre-Hellas Verona press conference in full
Read everything the boss had to say ahead of Sunday's Serie A meeting with Hellas Verona.

The game at the Stadio Bentegodi gets underway at 12:30 CET.

JOURNALIST: What sort of threat do Verona pose?

DI FRANCESCO: "They've bolstered their squad considerably - up front especially, but they've also signed an excellent defender in [Jagos] Vukovic. He's scored for them and made them a stronger outfit. They've added power and pace up front too. They've changed for the better and, what's more, they have Romulo back playing at the level he was before he joined Juventus."

How's the squad been looking this week?

"They've trained well with the right mindset. They're determined to win over the fans again. This must be a fresh starting point for us after a negative spell."

Is there any news on Daniele De Rossi's fitness?

"He's been training with us but we've taken the decision together to give him a few more days' training to make sure he's ready for Benevento. He won't be in the squad for this game."

Are you thinking of changing things around in midfield?

"Anything is possible - even a 5-3-2. I've tried out various formations, but I don't usually put out teams who don't know what they should be doing. With De Rossi and [Maxime] Gonalons unavailable, I'm not exactly spoilt for choice in midfield, but that doesn't mean we can't go with 4-3-3 again."

Are you happy the transfer window has closed and Edin Dzeko is still at Roma? How's he been?

"He was very willing before but he's calmer and even more determined now. I'm very happy the transfer window has closed."

Last week you said you didn't like the way things were done during the holiday period. What did you mean by that?

"I don't like to give my players or myself any excuses. I think we all could have managed it a bit better, but what I didn't like was having to give them seven days off and then playing again seven days later, because it means you can't get any groundwork done. I'd like my players to have an extra three or four days' work under their belts. We were quite unlucky with lots of niggling injuries as well, which meant we weren't able to train particularly well when we came back."

Do you feel you've had the club's full backing during this difficult spell?

"Yes, I definitely feel the club are behind me. As for outside the club, it seems like we're back to when I first joined. We have to earn that support again by producing the right performances and showing the right attitude - starting with myself."

Players like Dzeko, Bruno Peres and Radja Nainggolan have come out and reiterated their love for Roma. Is that the sort of attitude you want?

"You have to follow up words with actions. Some people only need words while others need actions too. I was very happy to hear them talking like that as they're the very principles I've tried to instil in my players: they must love this club, be professional and leave nothing on the pitch. That's the spirit I want this team to show."

How's Jonathan Silva looking? When will he be available for selection?

"He's a player we were keeping tabs on even before the summer. I hope to have him available in about a fortnight. He has great technical and physical ability and he could have a key role to play for us in what is a difficult position."

Don't you think the whole Dzeko affair might have created a split in the dressing room or with the management?

"The players have to focus on playing football without getting distracted by transfer talk. Fortunately, the club chose to keep him and it's a closed chapter now. Edin's attitude has always been excellent and he's a popular member of the squad. There's no split, just a strong desire to bounce back. We have to get on and do that now, start winning games again and get ourselves back into the Champions League spots. We're still in the Champions League as well, of course, though that tends to be overlooked."

What's the situation with Patrik Schick?

"He's been pretty unlucky ever since his first injury, which was the most important one. We've been working well with him and he's shown a lot of effort, but the last time he trained he felt a twinge when he kicked the ball and if you don't stop then you risk suffering a much more serious injury. He'll start running again on Monday and then he should be available for selection once again. He's been really unlucky through all this."

Could we see Cengiz Under in the starting line-up again?

"He took a while to settle in. He's coming on in leaps and bounds now but he's still got some way to go. He needs to be playing regularly. He's starting to understand the language and what I want from him. He can be a great option for us. He was rather unfortunate against Sampdoria but he's shown he's good enough to start games so, yes, he may start tomorrow. Either [Stephan] El Shaarawy or [Diego] Perotti will start tomorrow too."

Do you have anything to say to the fans?

"Our fans are magnificent and they've always got behind us. We've picked up less than we've deserved but the fans have carried on supporting us, giving us strength and courage as they always have. I don't know if Roma are born to suffer but if that's the case we'll suffer and try to achieve great results at the same time. All I ask for is support, then it's up to us to win back the fans' confidence."

Would changing formation be an admission of guilt or a sign of maturity?

"We haven't done well playing with 4-3-3 recently but it's more about our mentality and getting the rub of the green. I don't know if I'd call it an admission of guilt. I do what I feel is right. If I change things, I do it for the good of Roma so that we can win. I have to coach Roma and do what's best for Roma. If I change something, it's to obtain results.

"I could change tactics - our formation isn't static anyway; it's dynamic. A coach doesn't necessarily change his playing philosophy when he switches formation. The most important thing is that when you send your players out there they all know exactly what they need to do."
Source: As Roma
Saturday February 03, 2018
 
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