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Di Francesco's pre-Torino press conference in full

On Saturday afternoon, coach Eusebio Di Francesco held his first pre-match press conference of the 2018-19 Serie A season.

With the Giallorossi heading to Turin to face Walter Mazzarri's Torino side on Sunday, the boss was asked a number of questions about the club's transfer business this summer - and his hopes and expectations for the season to come.

Read what Di Francesco had to say...

Are there differences between this start to the season and the start to the last campaign?

"So many things have changed - there's a better understanding of what we need to do. I'm very pleased and I really want to make a good start in this away trip, which is very challenging."

Are you finding it hard to pick your line-up?

"It's a good thing that I'm finding it hard - it means we've brought in good players and have been able to work together for some time. I like preparing for a game with a few lingering doubts; that's better than having too many certainties."

Are Javier Pastore and Bryan Cristante match-fit?

"Yes. These players have different qualities but they're both in good condition and could start the match, after the pre-season they've had and given their respective ability. Cristante is more of a midfielder and Pastore plays more in the final third."

This match will see Edin Dzeko and Andrea Belotti face off. Can you compare the two players?

"Edin has got a lot more experience and the two have very different technical qualities. Edin offers more in terms of general play. It's hard to separate them. I like Belotti as a player; he's perhaps most involved when it comes to attacking the goal."

You've got nine midfielders in the squad. Are you still planning to use a 4-3-3 or do you have alternative formations in mind?

"There could still be a departure. Diego Perotti won't be involved tomorrow because of a knock on the ankle. Ante Coric can play as a wide forward - he's got the ability to do that. Nicolo Zaniolo has a lot of potential but he's got more developing to do. I want to use a lot of good players - if we're going to be competitive we need a lot of players who are ready to start games."

Can you tell us what you make of Steven Nzonzi? Can he play with Daniele De Rossi?

"He's only just arrived. He needs several training sessions to get back to match fitness. Why shouldn't he be able to play with De Rossi? They can perform similar roles but they also have the qualities to play side-by-side.

Would you have put the league on hold after the tragedy in Genoa?

"I'd like to take the opportunity to express my deepest sympathy for those who lost relatives and for the city of Genoa. I think it's right that Genoa and Samp's matches were postponed. But I think it's also right for the rest of us to play, to show continuity. I think attitudes are important. If we weren't playing, maybe some would have gone to the sea, to the theatre, or shopping. If everyone was to stay at home and pray, then it'd be different. I think it's right for us to play, while remaining sensitive to what happened in Genoa."

How do you assess Roma's transfer window? Have you got an adequate replacement for Alisson?

"Many choices were made, related to different situations. I'd say we've added quality to what we have, rather than quantity. Robin Olsen has been at it from the very beginning - he showed the quality he has during the World Cup. I hope he shows that from tomorrow - he'll start the game."

What do you think of the fact that sides that finished behind Roma, and which are having their balance sheets monitored by UEFA, have looked to bring in players like Luka Modric and Arturo Vidal?

"Didn't we talk about bringing Lionel Messi in? Saying you'll do something is one thing, making it happen is another. Many of the teams that finished behind us have strengthened, including Torino who we're up against tomorrow. The quality in Serie A has increased across the board. It will be an even tougher league campaign, beginning with our match tomorrow. Walter Mazzarri is very meticulous in the way he prepares for matches."

With Rick Karsdorp back, could we see Alessandro Florenzi playing further forward?

"It depends on the match. Rick has come back well - he had a small injury and is not yet at full fitness but he's improving. For me Florenzi is still a full back, but I know he can play as a wide forward too."

Do you think the team has improved?

"We'll see over time. Now isn't the right time to say. We've lost some big players, but I'm pleased with those we've brought in, both as players and as people. The squad could still be trimmed down."
Saturday August 18, 2018
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