Coach Eusebio Di Francesco bemoaned a mixture of bad luck and slight lack of sharpness as Roma were held to a 0-0 draw by Lazio on Sunday. The Derby della Capitale ended goalless after 90 fraught minutes at the Stadio Olimpico, despite the Giallorossi hitting the woodwork twice with close chances. And afterwards Di Francesco acknowledged his side could have been a bit more fortunate:
“It was definitely a scrappy game, and at the start there were a few second balls where we didn’t do well enough," he said. "Then I moved Radja behind the strikers, so he could play between the lines and we improved considerably. Overall, we weren’t tidy, and the match rested on small details and moments. They were determined, maybe even more so than us. It wasn’t easy, especially after all the excitement of going through in the Champions League. We’re a bit disappointed about the draw since we went so close towards the end. We’ve had our fair share of posts and crossbars this season, these are things that sometimes make the difference.”
Cengiz seemed to play well coming off the bench:
“I changed our system just then to try to give us more width. The lads could have responded better, especially when they went down to ten men. When we went wide, that’s when we created our best chances.”
How is Kostas Manolas doing?
“He took a knock and was cramping up. He played despite having a temperature, but ultimately he couldn’t stay on, so I was forced to change him.”
Stephan El Shaarawy did well when he came on as well:
“I was delighted with his attitude and desire to cause problems when I threw him on in the Champions League. He only had a few chances and I expect something more from Stephan. This game needed a goal to unlock things, from either side, and it would have become more fluid and less edgy. I don’t like seeing long balls hoofed forwards, but it happened a few times, although I understand this contest is different from the others.
How do you assess the performance in attack?
“Our two attacking midfielders especially didn’t read the game that well: Schick was getting too close to Dzeko. We weren’t tidy enough because we didn’t have the right movement up front. We weren’t able to impose our game with this system like we did against Barcelona.”
What differences were there compared to the Barcelona match?
“They turned it into a scrappy affair by playing it long, while Barcelona’s desire to play the ball out of defence means you can approach things differently. We struggle when teams put it in the air. We had chances like with Bruno Peres to score, which would have allowed us to play the game in a different way. Part of our development is getting to the point where we can deal with every match in the same way. I want the same approach in all fixtures.”
Is Dzeko undroppable? He created bags of chances tonight as well:
“He’s always dangerous. When he managed to bypass him, it meant we brought more players into the game and opened up the possibility of putting him on the end of something, and we should have done this more frequently. Lazio had the right mentality during the game and it was balanced until the end. I knew, however, that I couldn’t ask for more from my players tonight. We lacked some clear-headedness and you could see that. We have to get it back, even if we change system. We mustn’t lose our identity. We were chasing them too often today.”