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RANIERI: "Spal wanted it more than us2

Read what coach Claudio Ranieri had to say following Roma's 2-1 defeat against SPAL on Saturday.

Andrea Petagna scored the winner for the hosts from the penalty spot.

How hard is it to win matches if you lose all the individual battles in every area of the pitch?
"That's true. Our opponents were a team and we weren't. We tried hard but you have to work together too. We managed to win a few aerial battles but as soon as the ball was on the deck they won everything. In the second half they wasted loads of time trying to break up our rhythm but I can put myself in SPAL's shoes."

What's the main reason for this defeat? Was it tired legs or a lack of conviction?
"It's a bit of everything, Clearly some of the lads just don't have the energy for certain things. Others are short on confidence so they lack a bit of conviction going into individual battles. SPAL were more determined than us."

Is it a confidence problem?
"Confidence is one problem. Another is that we need to be more of a team and a third problem is that we didn't run intelligently - that's something we need to improve tactically."

In the first half you often had 11 men behind the ball. Is that something you'll try to improve in future?
"Yes, but you need energy to press the opposition. If you don't have it, it's better to stay tight together."

Do you have anything to say about the refereeing?
"You guys on television are in a position to judge those things. We can't see everything clearly from the dugout. We should try to make as little fuss as possible and help the match officials. If something wasn't right, they'll see it. Obviously the guys working on VAR need to acquire experience. I'm optimistic, though. Referees can make mistakes and that's exactly why we have the fourth official, the assistants and the VAR - to help the referee make the right decisions."

Do you think your players realise they're playing for their Roma futures?
"That's exactly what I said to them. There's a plan in place if Roma get into the Champions League. If we don't, quite a few of these guys could change clubs. This is something I said from day one: they have to deserve what they earn. We lost to a team who earn less than us, who are more humble than us, more determined than us, who are up to their necks in it, and they showed all that today."
Saturday March 16, 2019
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