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Di Francesco: A dirty but important win

Read what coach Eusebio Di Francesco had to say in the wake of Roma's 1-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday.

The result - secured thanks to Cengiz Under's early strike - means the Giallorossi need just one more point to secure Champions League football.

The win was secured despite a number of injuries throughout the evening - as Kostas Manolas limped out of the warm-up and Bruno Peres took a knock during the match itself.

"Well done to Cagliari for their performance," Di Francesco said. "I knew we wouldn't be perfect tonight - lots of my players were on the edge in terms of fitness.

"Unfortunately, Kostas Manolas got injured - he had a small issue and we tried to get him back ready. I always tell Elio Capradossi that he'll get his chance if he works hard - he did really well to take that opportunity, and at a tough ground too. All credit to him - he's always applied himself."

How are Manolas and Bruno Peres?

"Manolas hurt himself and is limping. It was a contusion, which can sometimes become a muscle pull. Bruno Peres had an issue during the first half and couldn't continue. This is what comes with the work, our travelling and our schedule - these are things that get in the way at this stage of the season. We won ugly - a lot of teams struggle here against Cagliari. In terms of motivation and how ruthless they were, it was a great performance from the team."

You only need a point to secure Champions League football and next up you've got Juventus at the Olimpico.

"Playing for a draw isn't in my make-up: you go out onto the pitch to win. The game could always end in a draw, but I don't like talking about permutations and the like. I can assure you that I will try to convince my players that we need all three points."

What improvements can this team make?

"One thing I always mention is mentality. I think the team has made steps forward in many different ways, and is now able to really dig in. I think Edin Dzeko's contribution was crucial, because of the mentality that he showed. In difficult moments, he really carried the team, helped us up the pitch by holding the ball. He was outstanding today. For me, this is an improvement in mentality and I'm really happy about that. Perhaps what we need is greater consistency in certain games. Our carelessness sometimes led to chances for Cagliari. Either way, we're improving in many ways."

Can you imagine Roma without Alisson?

"I'm not imagining Roma without Alisson, because I'm a coach - I don't handle transfer dealings. He has improved hugely; he works as an extra sweeper in the defensive line. In addition to his technical ability, he's got a great character and is someone who gives everything for the team. I want many players to form part of an orchestra and he is one of those."
Source: As Roma
Sunday May 06, 2018
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