Coppa Italia


See what Luciano Spalletti had to say after Roma's 2-1 win over Cesena on Wednesday evening.

You said you wanted to see a reaction after the game against Sampdoria. Are you happy with how the team played today?
“When you come up against a side like Cesena the match always turns out like that. I tried to shake up the atmosphere going into the game and I told the lads Cesena had already knocked out two Serie A TIM teams. I went with a strong line-up and only changed a few players to bring in some fresh legs. We didn't play badly in the second half. In the first 45 minutes they caused problems for us, partly because of the way they were set up and partly because of their pace up front. In the second period we made a few mistakes when we could have done a bit better.”

It looked like the team were trying to get [Francesco] Totti on the ball a lot...
“When Totti plays – but it's the same in training and even when he's playing with his boy – he's the Muhammad Ali of football, always looking to land that knockout blow: to swing the punch no one else can see. If he's on the pitch, it's a good idea to give him the ball. The more they get him on the ball, the more they'll get back in return – you get more back from Totti than the bank. He's the one who brought the fans back into the stadium from the car park last year.”

Roma kept pushing forward looking for the win right till the end, leaving two back in defence. Are you pleased with their attitude?
“I'm happy with the result. I told the lads that Cesena would be coming here intent on producing the performance of their lives. In the second half we set up with four at the back because we needed to do a little bit more. I brought on Emerson because it looked like we might be going to extra time and he can operate both as a full-back and further up the wing, with Mario Rui in defence as he might have struggled with fatigue. Bruno Peres is a full-back who likes to push up. We couldn't find a way through and we ended up with two at the back but they can handle themselves – they're strong and fast. They're quality.”

How's Diego Perotti?
“He felt a twinge in his muscle. He'll need to have tests but he definitely won't be available for the next one."

If Mohamed Salah wins the Africa Cup of Nations, could he perhaps come back demotivated?
“I think he'll come back tired but he's a good lad who cares about his club and his team-mates. I'm sure he'll come back with the right attitude.”

(Photo LaPresse)