EL SHAARAWY: "Valuable point in Champions league race"
Stephan El Shaarawy was pleased to reach 10 league goals for the season on Saturday night, as Roma drew 1-1 with Inter Milan at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
El Shaarawy admitted afterwards that reaching double figures had been his target for the campaign, so to achieve it - and with a beautiful, curling strike - was a nice moment for a player enjoying his finest goalscoring season for the Giallorossi.
El Shaarawy's strike was eventually cancelled out by Ivan Perisic's back-post header, but a point nevertheless does not harm Roma's ambitions of qualifying for next season's Champions League.
"It's an important landmark for me, I had this target in mind at the start of the season so to reach it is something I'm pleased with," El Shaarawy said, when asked about reaching 10 goals in Serie A.
"I happy as well because of the performance of the side from a defensive perspective: we've conceded just one goal in the last three games and that shows we are making progress. We can still do better in some of our play, but it is a point that keeps us in the hunt."
He added: "There aren't regrets [about failing to win], it's a valuable point in the race for the Champions League spots - especially seeing as other results today helped us a bit. We went out there with the right desire and spirit to get a result. The games against Sampdoria and Udinese were steps forward for us, and so is this. For me, conceding so few goals is a sign of growth."
Roma sit a point behind AC Milan in fourth, as the race for the Champions League spots continues to heat up.
"The target is to play in the Champions League, as it is for every player," he said.
"Everything is up in the air and we need to fight for absolutely everything, just as we have done in the last three games. With sides like Inter if you get too passive you can end up conceding goals. Perhaps we could have done a bit more on the ball, used possession a bit better.
"Inter deserve credit because in the second half they tried to take the initiative, given they were losing. They managed to make things hard for us and made life difficult. We kicked a lot of balls long towards Dzeko, who did a great job to help us out - but perhaps we could have helped him more by using the ball better."
The winger was also asked about a couple of possible penalty incidents involving the Giallorossi, notably a potential handball from Borja Valero and a late incident in the Inter box between Aleksandar Kolarov and Keita Balde.
"VAR is there to help the referees, it's assessed the incidents like it did and so I can only say that we respect the decisions," he said.
"On Kolarov I think there was a small push, but these are debatable points and we will take this point home with us."