Roma took an early lead through Javier Pastore - but in the end needed second half goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Kostas Manolas in order to salvage a point.
Do you think the team lost their focus after that brilliant early goal by Javier Pastore?
“We have to give credit where it's due to Atalanta. They're in much better shape than ourselves and lots of other teams at the moment. They were doing everything twice as fast, whereas we needed a bit longer to work up through the gears. We lost our shape and didn't press them properly. I'd have changed seven or eight players at half time if I could have. I got angry with them at 3-3 because we lost our balance. Regardless of the formation, they needed to maintain their positions. I know we were pushing for a winner but we shouldn't have left all those gaps for Atalanta, especially as we've shown we're capable of scoring at any time.”
Was Alessandro Florenzi's goal the sort of move you needed in a game like this?
“That move leading up to Florenzi's goal is something we'd been trying on the training ground all week, although we managed to put it into practice very little today. We were really struggling. In the first half we played 50 pointless passes back to our keeper. If you know how to move, you're going to create openings – especially when you have a striker like Edin [Dzeko] who's so good at coming short. We did lots of good things in the second half but we were unwatchable in the first. Sometimes I'd like to see us show a bit more awareness and experience during the game. It was like a Sunday league match in the last 10 minutes. That's unacceptable for a team like Roma. We risked compromising all the good work we'd done to get ourselves back into the game.”
Do you think your difficulty building play in the first half was due to a poor defensive display?
“We were sluggish in possession. If you pass the ball back to your keeper that often, it's a clear sign that you're under pressure. When our defenders stepped out they didn't realise there was a man running in behind. Kostas [Manolas] had a hard time of it with [Duvan] Zapata: he should have backed off a touch and let him make the first move. It meant we ended up chasing at lot of the time instead of running forwards as I prefer.”
Where is Pastore most effective?
“During the week I asked him to show me a bit more quality and he did that today. He and others went missing after we scored the first goal and he wasn't able to help his team-mates. The midfielders weren't closing down aggressively enough to help the defence. On the other hand, Javier showed fabulous ability playing between the lines, which is exactly what I want. It just shows you that I'm not set on 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1. He scored a stunning goal playing on the wing but he can play in the hole or further back in midfield too. When you have a player who knows how to play you just have to put him out there. He's very skilful but he needs grit and determination too, which he lacked in the first half.”
(Photo Getty Images)