Di Francesco: clearly something has to change
Read what coach Eusebio Di Francesco had to say following Sunday's 2-0 defeat against Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.
The Giallorossi lost out after goals from Federico Mattiello and Federico Santander, extending the recent run of poor results.
You're in crisis, both in terms of play and the results you're getting. Why?
"If I had an explanation for this, I'd give it to you. Hard work pays off - we're all trying to find answers and that's something I have to take care of internally. I've failed to do that so far and I feel I'm one of those to blame. Ultimately we always talk about numbers, rather than attitudes and inner drive.
"If you have 72% possession against Bologna, you know the problem isn't your philosophy, but it means you're coming up short in one-on-ones and failing to outnumber the opposing team. When you lose out in every challenge, in a game where you have three times the possession of your opponents, you only have yourself to blame. If you're failing to take certain chances created, something is missing.
"Looking for excuses is not what I'm about, but I need to find solutions. I can't tell you what I'll do in terms of our system - for me it's about finding the right men rather than the right players."
How long will the team need in this period of development?
"We need to get there as soon as possible. One-on-ones aren't about tactics - it's about wanting to put your foot in, showing more ruthlessness. That's something that a player needs inside of them. I could say lots of things now - some that people will agree with, others less so. I have the desire to turn things around.
"We conceded a soft goal in stoppage time against Milan, when it appeared in the second half that we were close to winning the game. We missed from a yard out today. We put 280 crosses into the box from inside the final third, when you've only got Edin Dzeko to go after those balls. That's not something that I want.
"The players get caught up in wanting to score and they lose a bit of that sharpness, which they need to do the things we've worked on in training. I will make changes based on what I've seen - when things have simmered down I'll find the right solutions. On thing is for sure - we're lacking defensive solidity, that's where these errors come from."
What is this team missing?
"In football you need consistency. Paradoxically I've had more time this season to work with the players, but it's making me go mad; we've worked on certain attacking and defensive movements over and over but we don't manage to implement them in the way we'd like. That's why I'm thinking something needs to change. It's inevitable.
"There are certain things I can accept, like standing still. I picked Ivan Marcano today, for example, because when you've got matches in quick succession you can't always pick the same players. Last year I'd change six players in each game and we'd all be pulling in the same direction, winning lots of balls high up the pitch - things that you struggle to keep on doing when you don't have that drive inside you."
Maybe the issue is when your opponents have the ball?
"I agree completely - that's what makes the difference. In football, defenders should always prepare for the worst. You can always lose the ball. We were too slow today to stop things from happening - we'd act too late. They just wanted to hit us on the break and we just can't afford to give away some of the balls we did in the opposing area. We cannot allow that - the numbers today lay the blame at our door, at my door. We just need to shut up and keep working hard."