RANIERI: "De Rossi will start against Parma, he deserves a standing ovation"
RANIERI: SUNDAY HAS TO BE A CELEBRATION
Coach Claudio Ranieri faced the media on Friday afternoon, to preview the season-closing home match against Parma on Sunday.
The game at the Stadio Olimpico gets underway at 20:30.
Read what the boss had to say below...
Sunday is the last match of the season and the last time Daniele De Rossi will play for Roma. What kind of atmosphere are you expecting?
"I hope it's the atmosphere that Daniele deserves - that's the only thing I hope for. I want to see the stadium overflowing with love. It has to be a celebration of everything Daniele has given to Roma and the way he's given it. I expect a positive celebration for him, 100%."
Will De Rossi start?
"He'll start and he'll be wearing his captain's armband. He deserves a standing ovation from the whole Olimpico. It has to be a celebration and he needs to produce a great performance. If that's what I want, just imagine how much he wants it."
Why is De Rossi a special player for a coach to work with?
"He's able to convey his passion for the shirt he wears, whether that's Italy or Roma. He always expresses his desire to do well and gives maximum commitment. That doesn't mean that he always plays well, but it does mean that he always tries to give 100%. He's also a positive influence in the dressing room and for the team. He has quality and great character and in the tough times his team-mates turn to him for support."
What kind of Roma side do you leave and what plans do you have for the future?
"I think the team has shown that it has picked itself up and shown desire to be compact and fight for its objective. If we don't achieve it we'll congratulate our opponents, but we have to give everything right until the end - because we're professionals and because we like playing. You don't play for money but for passion, for enjoyment. The first time I went abroad I felt like a European coach. I'll go wherever I find a project that intrigues me."
Even before the announcement, did you have a feeling that De Rossi's Roma career was coming to an end?
"No. I never thought that and we'd never spoken about it. It was a bolt from the blue for me, as it was for him."
Where could you have had more of an impact during your time at Roma? Did you expect more from any players in particular?
"Once I saw the team, I realised that I was going to have to do a lot of work on their confidence and on the psychological side of things. I think we've done some good work in defence. We've tried to concede fewer goals and as we've moved forward, the team has got to grips with my instructions more and more. All of the players have given their all. I'm convinced that [Patrik] Schick is a fantastic footballer, but some players mature at 19 years of age and others don't. I would be a shame if his talent only exploded through at 28. I hope he stays and proves that I'm not wrong about him."
How will you feel when you leave Roma?
"It's emotional for me every time I take charge of Roma. I don't come out during the anthem, otherwise my emotions would get the better of me. I'll leave Roma with my heart open and the hope that they can keep getting better and better."
Does this Roma side feel like it's yours? Will you have any regrets in leaving?
"It started to feel like mine with every passing day. The team was already shaped in a certain way. It needed to be gradually remodelled starting from the great work that Eusebio [Di Francesco] did. I don't have regrets. I knew when I signed how long it was going to last for. I wish whoever comes after me the best."
As well as De Rossi, Sunday might be a final Roma appearance for other players. Do you think the club needs to start again from zero?
"This group has quality and is well-balanced, with the right mix of young and old. There were higher expectations of a few of the young players but there is a healthy nucleus. I don't think the club needs to start again from zero - the league position isn't good enough, but they won't be starting again from zero. It's only from the coach's perspective that you start again from zero, though you still learn from the experiences of previous coaches. Players must show intelligence and versatility in taking on the instructions of the new coach."
Will De Rossi wear a personalised captain's armband or the standard Serie A one?
"I don't know, but I would be happy to pay the fine to have him wear a personalised armband."
How could you have done better over the past few months?
"Perhaps at the crucial moment there were too many rumours about players leaving and coaches coming in. All of the rumours started at the time when we needed to give everything in pushing for our objective. It would have been better if there had been a common line from everyone. It's not a criticism of the press or the club, but that would have helped us to pick up a few more points."