UEFA Champions League


Di Francesco had plenty of praise for his goalkeeper, Alisson Becker, after a number of eye-catching saves at the Stadio Olimpico - but admitted that he was forced to change his tactics midway through the second half to ensure his side claimed a point. The Giallorossi moved to a five-man defence that seemed to restore the balance in the game.

"We have come up against a top side like Atletico, and we have had a little bit of good fortune at the end - the goalkeeper has made the saves, whereas against Inter we were a bit unlucky," Di Francesco said. "This evening it was a good first half, after the break we faded from a physical standpoint and started to lose the ball - we had less quality.

"I was forced change the system because we were not keeping them back, it gave us a bit more balance.

"For 60 minutes we were good, then after that we were suffering a lot. But the mentality and the style of play in the first half that we had was good. Sometimes we risked a bit too much and allowed two or three long balls over the top that boosted the opponents - these are the sort of mistakes we have to cut out. Then Alisson was decisive today and I hope he can continue to be in other games too. The big teams also have big goalkeepers."

Di Francesco was then asked about the physical condition of the squad, with the team seeming to fade slightly as the second half progressed.

"It's a question I am also asking," he acknowledged. "With the ICC we didn't have great continuity in the training and maybe we need to work a bit harder on this now. On the pitch the players that lasted better in the game were, for example, Diego Perotti and Juan Jesus - players who were with me for the pre-season camp at Pinzolo, and we can see that from a physical standpoint they had a bit more. But we will see the improvement over the season, although that's not to saw it wouldn't be better to be stronger now. But we will look at everything and see what we can do to lift the physical condition of the group."

(Photo LaPresse)