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DI FRANCESCO: "Maturity cost us but we showed good spirit"

Coach Eusebio Di Francesco felt there were positives to take from Roma's defeat against Juventus on Saturday evening, despite the 1-0 scoreline.

Mario Mandzukic scored the only goal of the game shortly before half-time for the hosts, who had further chances during the game but were forced to defend some Roma pressure in the closing stages.

And it was this determined spirit that pleased Di Francesco.

Read what the coach had to say in his post-match interview.

Roma looked like two different sides in the first and second halves today. Was that all down to the change of formation?

"We could say that Juve were two different sides too then. It's not unusual for a team to fare better in one half. In the first 45 minutes we were held back by the fear from our previous games while in the second half we let it go. We got stuck into the challenges and were better in possession.

"We did play with intensity at times in the first half but our decision-making wasn't up to scratch and we weren't able to make the most of the balls we won in Juve's half. That's the difference between us and them. Whenever they got the chance to shoot they did. It's a question of squad maturity. In any case, I'm pleased with the way we responded."

Did you start the game with a three-man defence or did the players settle into that system during the match?

"I wanted to pack numbers into the central areas to give [Aleksandar] Kolarov the chance to build moves and get the two strikers closer together so that we could pose more of a threat. We knew we were coming off a tough spell and we wanted a different physical presence. We managed that well at times while other times we did it less well."

What the best thing you take away from this match?

"Our attitude and desire to go toe-to-toe against great players, plus the fact we moved the ball around very well in the opposition half. It's a shame we weren't able to make our possession count in the second period. It's never easy to keep Juve pegged back in their own half and my team did well but then you need some end product to show for it. We lack a bit of guile and experience up front to pick out the best options."

Did you expect more from Patrik Schick?

"Patrik played 90 minutes because I felt he was having a good game. I expect a striker like him to have more shots on goal but he did what I asked of him and put in a good shift for the team."
Saturday December 22, 2018
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