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Di Francesco: Tonight showed we have an identity

Coach Eusebio Di Francesco was full of praise for his side after they beat Napoli 4-2 at the Stadio San Paolo on Saturday night.

Cengiz Under, Edin Dzeko (twice) and Diego Perotti grabbed the goals for the Giallorossi, as they stunned the Serie A leaders at their home ground.

Afterwards, Di Francesco paid tribute to the improvements in mentality that his side demonstrated during the game.

"We worked really hard on the mental side of our game this week," Di Francesco said. "People said we'd run out of energy and ideas but we showed we're a team today. It's vital that we kick on from here now.

"We performed brilliantly against a side who play very good football. We went toe to toe with them and maintained our level throughout the 90 minutes, which is something we've often haven't been able to do lately."

Will today's win help the team to become aware of their potential?

"Often it happens that our focus drops off and we're not able to put into practice the things I want from them because we feel we've already won - and that's a habit we really must kick. We scored four goals and won today whereas on other occasions we've surrendered a lead because we were less determined than we were tonight."

Do you feel proud to be the AS Roma coach today?

"I always feel proud to be the Roma coach and to represent this club, in victory and in defeat. It's easy when you win. You need love, passion and a sense of belonging to be part of this team."

It seems strange that a team capable of playing as well as you did tonight can lose certain games, as you have done in the past. What was different today?

"That's something we've been working on. There have been lots of games where we've played with the right attitude only for part of the match. That's not enough. We have to be in the game at all times and help ourselves. Often we let mistakes get to us and that doesn't help us at all. We must be focused on the next ball, not the last one, and the lads did that today.

"The team that makes the fewest mistakes wins and today we made fewer than Napoli. It's not easy to put four past Napoli as they have one of the best defences in the league.

"We must keep working hard on the mental side of our game. Today we showed that we're strong physically, that we have an identity, ideas and a mentality. It annoys me that I have to rediscover that today. But I can't not be happy tonight."

How much is Cengiz [Under] worth in today's market?

"I'm not going to talk about his financial value but I can tell you that he's worked really hard and put himself at the service of the team and we're reaping the rewards at the moment. He has the ability to create something special. I think he's more lethal than lots of other strikers."

Edin Dzeko was back to his best tonight too...

"That was a magnificent response from Edin tonight. I'd been encouraging him all week.

"He's a very intelligent lad and he realised he had to contribute a bit more to the team. And today - besides scoring - he put in the shift I asked him to put in. The midfielders were finding it hard to close down Jorginho but he did his bit and we managed to limit the number of clean passes Napoli were able to play.

"He's so good when he plays between the lines. He's got the confidence and the ability to wriggle away with the ball - I've never seen a striker built like him who is so technically gifted."
Source: As Roma
Sunday March 04, 2018
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