Summer signing Gregoire Defrel was officially presented to the media alongside sporting director Monchi. The French forward, who joined the club last month, expressed his delight at joining the Giallorossi - and insisted he has set himself high targets for the upcoming campaign. Read everything he had to say during the press conference below.
How important has Eusebio Di Francesco been in your development and how important is it to have him here at Roma?
“He’s been very important for me because he’s taught me a lot. He changed my position and made me into more of a striker. Over the past two years, he’s really helped me to develop my striker’s movement. I’m very happy because I’ve noticed a great improvement in myself over the last two years at Sassuolo.”
The fans are a lot more demanding at Roma than they are at Sassuolo. Your Stadio Olimpico debut could come in the second game of the season – are you looking forward to it?
“I know it’s going to be different, but I like that. I know Roma have a wonderful stadium and fantastic, passionate fans. It adds another level of excitement so I’m really up for it. It’s going to be a great match between two top Serie A TIM clubs and I hope to be ready for it. I’ll have to wait and see what the coach decides, but I think all the players will be ready because we’re working very hard.”
You provide an alternative to Edin Dzeko but you can also play as a right winger. With the players Roma now have, do they have an obligation to be aiming for the title?
“Of course. We all know that Roma are a great side and we’ve seen in recent seasons that they have the quality to fight for the Scudetto. We’ll have to see how things go. I’m part of the attack alongside Dzeko – more players might come in and I think we have a fantastic group already.”
Is it true that you had the chance to join Roma back in January?
“I spoke to my agent and he told me that Roma were interested. I would have liked to have come in January, but I decided to stay at Sassuolo. I was hoping that Roma would come back in for me in the summer, and although I had other offers Roma was the only club in my mind. I didn’t have to think twice and as soon as the offer came up I said yes right away.”
Are you equally ready to play as a striker or on the wing?
“I’ve spent the last two years as a striker, but at Cesena I played on the right wing many times. It’s a position I know how to play and I’ve played there in pre-season. I lacked that extra yard in my legs, but it was a chance to reacquaint myself with playing on the wing and I think I did a good job. I have a great group of team-mates around me and they all helped. Mentally, I’m ready for anything – wherever the boss wants to play me. I’m ready to give everything I have.”
Does your position change how many goals you score? Also, will you be sticking to the same celebration? It caused a bit of a stir at Sassuolo.
“We’re judged by the amount of goals we score and I want to get better every year. My main objective is to score lots of goals. The celebration is nothing – it’s something between me and my friends from Paris and I don’t do it for every goal. The controversy was because of the gesture involved, especially around the time of the Paris attacks, and I agree that it wasn’t the right thing to do. Maybe if I score an important goal I might do it because I’m so used to it, but I’ll try not to anymore.”
How important will it be to train alongside a striker like Edin Dzeko?
“Dzeko is a top striker who has scored lots of goals. I study him in every training session – his movement is super and he barely ever makes a mistake in front of goal. He’s a very good player, but he’s more physical and taller them me – I have different attributes. I really like Edin so it’s no wonder I’m studying everything he does.”
You scored four goals in eight games in your maiden European campaign last season and this year you’ll be playing in the Champions League. Are you excited?
“The Europa League was new for me and I’m pleased with how I did. This time around it’s the Champions League, the most important competition in the world. I’m ready and I feel up for it. If we work hard, I’m sure that this team will be able to do well in the competition.”