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Di Francesco: It was tough with 10 men but we kept things tight

Read what coach Eusebio Di Francesco had to say following Roma's 1-0 win over Hellas Verona on Sunday.

The Giallorossi ended a six-game run without a win thanks to Cengiz Under's early strike, in a game where Lorenzo Pellegrini was sent off early in the second half.

You were struggling right until the final whistle...

"That's directly related to the fact we were playing with ten men. Nevertheless, we didn't allow them any shots on target at the end. Finding it tough is only relative when you're creating lots of chances. It's not just today that this was the case: we've been producing plenty of opportunities for a while.

"Maybe the difference is that today we conceded far fewer than in other games. Recently all our losses have been by narrow margins and this means we've always had balance, but when you create many chances, you have to convert them well."

There was a change in system today...

"There were positives and negatives in this respect. With only two midfielders in front of the defence, you can often be exposed to counter attacks in central areas. Since I'm a coach that doesn't like to leave things to chance, we worked on this formation for the entire week and the lads gave me the right reaction. Let's not forget, however, that for four months the team did brilliantly in a 4-3-3, topping our group in the Champions League.

"In any case, we weren't very clinical in the 4-2-3-1 today. We deserved to win, but you can't afford to struggle like this in every game. It was important to get the victory and we had a sense of compactness back when forced to play with ten men for more than 40 minutes."

You had more freedom going forward in the first half of the campaign. Has the team started playing deeper?

"No, it depends on who you're playing. Hellas Verona often play it long and don't keep possession, so as a result we had to drop deeper. Early in the game last Sunday, Sampdoria were also playing it forward a lot to [Duvan] Zapata and didn't allow us to play aggressively. This is normal: certain teams come up against us in the knowledge we sit deep. On the other hand, a team that passes the ball more, like Napoli, ensure you can play differently."

You made a few errors bringing the ball out of defence as well. Why was that?

"Mistakes are part of football and when you're lacking confidence maybe you make a few too many. We were always looking to force the forward pass today, but I want to see two players inside and one outside to avoid too many bodies in midfield. These forward passes gave more opportunities to the opposition to catch us off-guard. However, we had 70% possession in the first half and that means our opponents didn't see a lot of the ball today."
Source: As Roma
Sunday February 04, 2018
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