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Manolas: We must not underestimate Benevento

Defender Kostas Manolas spoke to the club's matchday programme this week, to preview Sunday's Serie A meeting with Benevento.

Read what the Greece international had to say about the upcoming game, last week's win over Hellas Verona, the club's recent run of difficult form and more...

INTERVIEWER: What was going through your mind when you were celebrating the Hellas win and just how important were those three points for the team?

MANOLAS: "I celebrated like that because it had been a long time since we'd won a game. There was a lot of pressure in the dressing room and among the fans. I felt it inside me too... I'm not used to not winning. It just came out - it wasn't something I'd planned. It's good that we got the win because it was tough going playing 30 minutes of the second half with ten men."

Do you think the team's bad patch is definitively behind you?

"We weren't getting the results, but we hadn't played badly in the two games against Samp and match away at Inter. If we can beat Benevento, I think we'll be back on track and we'll get back to where we deserve to be."

The sending off of Lorenzo Pellegrini in the second half against Verona definitely made life harder for you, but Roma never really looked like conceding. It was a great defensive performance.

"The defence always works hard not to concede, but as I always say, when you keep a clean sheet it's not just down to the defenders - it's the result of everyone's hard work. We all dug in and gave everything we had and in the end we got the result we deserved."

You played with a 4-2-3-1 formation against Verona, but regardless of the formation Roma have been consistent in conceding few goals and missing lots of chances. Where do you think you need to improve?

"We need to improve in every area. We're working hard to make sure we keep conceding as few goals as possible, but we want to score more goals too. It's the same as last year and two years ago. We create lots of chances, but we don't take them - that needs to improve! I'm convinced that things will go better in the coming games."

Your next opponents are Benevento, who are bottom of the table with just seven points but made some eye-catching signings in January. What kind of match are you expecting?

"Benevento are a different team since Roberto De Zerbi took over as manager. They try to pass the ball around and press high up the field. They play proper football - I like that. They lost against Napoli last time out, but they caused them some problems in the first half. It won't be an easy game. We mustn't underestimate them just because they're bottom of the table. Our concentration needs to be at 100% because it's going to be a tricky game."

The Benevento game is also a chance to get back to winning ways in front of your home fans. Just how important is that support from the fans?

"It's vital for us. The fans spur us on, but it's understandable that they get disappointed when the results aren't coming - they're used to seeing Roma up near the top of the table. We'll try to get another three points and play some good football to give them something to shout about, which they deserve."

Unfortunately Roma will be without both Radja Nainggolan and Lorenzo Pellegrini...

"They're both important players for the team, but we have other players waiting in the wings so they need to seize their opportunity to help the team win."

After Benevento, you face Udinese away, then Shakhtar, AC Milan and Napoli. Is this the most important period of the season?

"You can't say it's the most important period. Every game is vital and you need to play every match to win. We'll focus on playing as well as we can and then we'll take stock. I'm very optimistic."
Source: As Roma
Friday February 09, 2018
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