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Di Francesco: We went missing in the second half

Read what coach Eusebio Di Francesco had to say in the wake of Sunday night's 2-0 home defeat against AC Milan.

Patrik Cutrone and Davide Calabria scored second half goals for the Rossoneri at the Stadio Olimpico, on a disappointing night for the home side.

"The team did well in the first half and didn't give AC Milan any chances, but we were missing something in our final ball and didn't have enough quality in the final third," Di Francesco said.

"We went missing after they scored in the second half, which is worrying and something we should think about. We often look for excuses from a physical point of view, but the team were compact and played well in the first half."

Are the alarm bells ringing?

"We can't be calm and happy after today's result. We weren't expecting this game and this performance. The team fell apart after half-time, which is amazing to me. I'm disappointed about the scoreline and the defeat.

"We created dangerous chances in the first half but lacked conviction. For their goal, a situation that we had worked on, we should have defended the penalty area better."

Is this team short on character?

"This is the impression one gets from today's performance. We were too deep for their goal and they took us by surprise too easily. Nevertheless, football is made up of moments and their goal influenced the course of the match, but we should have reacted better."

Was the decision to play Patrik Schick down to his technical ability or Dzeko's fitness?

"Schick did well in some situations and less so in others. He caused problems for the opposition on occasion, but sometimes he found himself in too much space for a target man. He should have played closer to their centre-backs.

"We had to rest Edin Dzeko, who has played a lot of games. I hoped that Schick coming in would add some invention and allow us to play deeper in behind, but this wasn't the case. We're not writing the lad off though. If we want to be a top side, we can't bring ourselves down to this level, we can't switch off like this. This is my responsibility and I must make the players understand: we cannot afford any more of these slip-ups."

Was there some tiredness from the Champions League?

"Maybe. I changed a few things which meant some players had to play three matches in a row rather than two. In the second half, I got the impression the players had dropped off physically and this gives me cause for concern as well. I must say that the team bossed the pitch in the first half, winning back possession from Milan's midfield. We lacked a clinical edge, but we've often said this and it's beginning to seem like an excuse. We have to get our heads down and work hard."

Do you believe you have a handle on the situation?

"When we start this job, we're aware that we'll be under discussion. And it's only fair to ask the question: I'm the coach and I'm responsible above all."

Radja Nainggolan was substituted after 60 minutes. How's he doing?

"Aside from the fact he had a nasty injury which caused him to lose a tooth and his head was spinning, I had to try to shake the team up by throwing on an extra forward. Radja is not in his best form since joining Roma. We need him, he's got great attributes."
Sunday February 25, 2018
 
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