PEROTTI: "Relieved to bury penalty"
Diego Perotti admitted to feeling some nerves prior to his crucial penalty as Roma beat Sassuolo 3-1 on Wednesday.
Perotti converted from the spot after just eight minutes to give the Giallorossi the lead at the Stadio Olimpico, in what was his first start for the team after a long spell on the sidelines through injury.
The Argentine was made to wait to take the spot-kick - as VAR reviewed the referee's decision - and he acknowledged afterwards that those minutes, coupled with the importance of a win for the team, meant he was really feeling the pressure on his shoulders.
"It was worse than when I had to take a penalty in the derby - because it was a long wait and I had time to think too much about it all," Perotti said.
"It was not an easy penalty, especially considering what I have been through in the last few months. I wanted to score for my teammates. I'm pleased, luckily it went in."
He added: "The penalty was tough also because of [recent results], because we needed the three points and to give something to the fans. The cheer from them was great, I missed it a lot. You can't always score, so when you do it's great. It's great to see the joy it gives the fans."
For Perotti the game was just his second start of an injury-hit campaign - although he hopes the worst is now behind him.
"I think for any player it is horrible to be away from the pitch for a long time," he said.
"As I've said before, I live and breathe football and so when I'm away from the action I do find it really tough - to watch my teammates from afar. I hope that now the worst is behind me. I hope I'm back, ready to play at my usual level."
He added: "I think the first half could easily have finished 3-0, we had a lot of chances to basically close out the game. That's what we perhaps lacked in Turin [against Juventus] - we didn't create so many chances even though we had a lot of the ball. Today we both created and converted chances - although we can still do better.
"We all need to give 100%; we have some strong players, especially out wide. On the bench today we had Justin Kluivert and Stephan El Shaarawy - we have cover in a lot of positions. I'm pleased to be back, to hopefully be able to contribute on the pitch and continue to help results improve."