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DI FRANCESCO: "Now we just need to win games"

Coach Eusebio Di Francesco knows there can be no festive gifts from the Giallorossi on Wednesday, as Roma host Sassuolo at the Stadio Olimpico.

Roma go into the game needing to pick up three points against a side that currently sit two places above them in the standings - a situation that needs addressing as the Serie A season nears the halfway stage.

Di Francesco's side remain just four points off fourth in the table - and the Champions League qualification spots - but the boss knows that the squad need to start addressing the situation as soon as possible

"The fact so many teams are so close together could be a bit of advantage - we are where we are compared to our expectations because we've dropped a lot of points," Di Francesco said.

"Now we need to win games and make as few mistakes as possible.

"[The current situation] is a pressure that gives us motivation. When you aren't seeing the right results then clearly you have to look for solutions - we need to put points on the board."

Roma go into the game looking to rebound after a 1-0 defeat against league leaders Juventus in Turin.

"From my point of view there were things we did well in the first half, especially in the first 25 minutes, in Turin too," he said.

"We won the ball high up the pitch a few times but failed to turn that into something. For me there were times in that first half when the squad had the ball and could have interpreted the situation a bit better, especially against a side that works out from the back.

"Sassuolo are a focused team, with their own clear identity. I know the place well, they will be ready for the game and have a lot of interesting young players. They aren't where they are in the league through luck - they've dropped a few points along the way too."

The boss was asked whether Edin Dzeko - or came on as a late substitute against Juventus - will be fit to start, or others like midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini will return to the matchday squad.

"It was a bit of a risk to bring Dzeko on in Turin after just one training session - he hadn't done much work out on the pitch," Di Francesco said.

"We need to evaluate him closely, between today and tomorrow we will have a lot at whether he is able to start or play a role off the bench again. I will speak to him as well, how he feels will be important.

"We are looking at Pellegrini but I think it is probably more likely he will back for the Parma game. Now it is important he gets back to match fitness."

The game will also see Di Francesco come up against his son, forward Federico, who joined Sassuolo in the summer.

"I don't want to make jokes [about that] - we need the points," he said. "But beyond that I am happy that he is at a club that really wants to help young players to progress."

See also: Di Francesco Serie A Sassuolo
Source: As Roma
Tuesday December 25, 2018
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