RANIERI: "My job here runs until the end of the season. Building a new stadium is crucial"
"Building a new stadium is crucial for the club"
Coach Claudio Ranieri held his customary pre-match press conference on Friday morning, looking ahead to the weekend meeting with Juventus.
The match against the Serie A champions takes place on Sunday, with kick-off at 20:30 local time.
Read what Ranieri had to say about the match, his future, and much more...
Roma need to win this game but Juve have only lost twice all season. How do you beat a team like that?
"That's a good question - you need to be determined and focused, first and foremost. We're fully aware that we let a good opportunity slip away in Genoa, but what we have to do now is produce a reaction for our fans - that's what you need in times like this.
"When I came here, qualifying for the Champions League looked a tough ask, but we're still in with a shot. We've got three games left and we don't want to have any regrets. We'll give our all and then we'll take stock."
Many fans of Italian teams are dissatisfied with their sides' progress, including Juventus supporters. How do you explain that?
"Perhaps people had different expectations. All the teams want to win, but only one team can win a given competition. Credit to Juventus."
How is Edin Dzeko?
"He's a very good player - he's determined and always trains hard, but of course it can happen where you have a season in which you get fewer goals. His desire and determination have always persuaded me to select him - he's an important player for Roma. Even when he's not scoring, as everyone expects from him, he plays in a way that helps his team-mates."
We have four English teams in the European finals. Did you expect that?
"It's surprised me a bit. In recent years it was highlighted that the lack of a winter break meant teams couldn't go the distance in those competitions, without that period for players to recover. It was also seen as a disadvantage for the national team going into tournaments.
"Clearly the coaches have made some changes but it's also the beautiful nature of football, where this can transpire and you have four English teams in the finals of the two major cups."
Nicolo Zaniolo appeared out of position in the role he played against Genoa - is that a physical issue or about positioning?
"We've spoken about this many times - he's a box-to-box midfielder. He's been an important player for me recently, as a trequartista and right winger, but neither of those are his role. He has got physical prowess and pace, characteristics that lend themselves to that position.
"This is his first full Serie A season, so of course you can't perform at 100% in every game. In recent training sessions, he's been refreshed and full of desire - I think that's important."
You said that if Antonio Conte came here you'd go and pick him up from the airport yourself. What will you do now, will you stay here and not even go to Fiumicino?
"I came to Roma because my reaction to getting the call from the club, as a Roma fan, was one of excitement and good will. My job here runs until the end of this season."
Could Daniele De Rossi's return mean Zaniolo can play wide in a midfield three?
"He could do. I've still got these two days to pick my line-up. I'll make my decisions with the team's best interest in mind and what the line-up can give me over 90 minutes."
How is Cengiz Under? Does he still need to improve?
"This lad has an eye for goal like few others - he's got a great shot on him. His injury has meant that he's not been able to fully showcase all of the qualities he has. During training he's getting better in front of goal.
"I believe what needs to improve, particularly when we're playing a 4-2-3-1, is for the wide players to drop back, so as to help make the team compact. I know he's not a ball winner but if he doesn't drop back the full back will be left two against one. He needs to work on winning the ball back more."
There's been a lot of talk about the coach for next season and James Pallotta sent a message to the fans about the stadium a few days ago. It appears the club has lost sight of the importance of this current season. Could that explain what happened in Genoa?
"It is difficult to say whether the Genoa game can be explained by all the bedlam, because it is something that happens football all over the world. I think we needed to be more practical and focused, and to not concede from the set piece. It's okay to talk but on the field you need to be focused and determined. At the end of the game, I said: 'I hope this point can be useful in the end.' I believe this is the most important thing, to stay focused on ourselves.
"It is right that we talk about off-the-pitch matters, but us coaches and players must be focused on our jobs. Our sole focus should be the game we're about to play."
When you say your work will be finished in a few weeks, are you ruling out staying at Roma? Since we talked about Conte, do you, as Roma coach, think there's an environment for a successful project here in Rome?
"When I signed here, my decision was to help the team I love in their moment of need. Once the season is over, my work here is done. I want to talk up Roma - this club is priceless. Of course I want speak positively about the team I love."
How much are Roma missing to reach Juventus' level?
"Of the top teams, Juventus are an excellent benchmark. For Roma to get where Juventus are, the club needs its own stadium. Then Roma will be able to start trying to compete with them, but without the stadium it will be very difficult."
The team have lacked a bit of ruthlessness this year. Does that come from the attitude the coach transmits or does it also depend on the club's leadership?
"What you get from a team, in terms of determination and quality, is a result of the character and quality of the players themselves. Sometimes a coach only has to say two words, because they have a team with character and personality. What's great is when you can build a team in the coach's image.
"Jurgen Klopp is doing amazing work, because he has players that commit 100% to his philosophy. That's why Liverpool are such a sparkling team, which gives absolutely everything. Before there were ups and downs, but now they maintain that intensity for the whole game and the whole season. Now they can do it. That's indicative of a strong bond between the club, the coach and the players."
How has Javier Pastore been after being left out against Genoa?
"He's done well. He didn't react badly to being left out and that's important. Players can be very sensitive however he's been understanding of my decision and trained well. He could be involved on Sunday."
How are Davide Santon and Rick Karsdorp. Could we see Alessandro Florenzi on the wing?
"They trained all week - they're okay but don't yet have 90 minutes in them. Florenzi is a good option to have, since he can play high up the pitch or in defence. We can always use him in either role."