Serie A TIM


Coach Luciano Spalletti described his side's performance as "brilliant" as Roma ran out 4-1 winners over AC Milan on Sunday night. Goals from Edin Dzeko (twice), Stephan El Shaarawy and Daniele De Rossi secured the three points for the Giallorossi, although Spalletti acknowledged it had not always been so straightforward.

Roma return to winning ways... and in style:
"There was no other way. When you're in this game you can't hide away, you must take the bull by the horns and the rough with the smooth. We needed a reaction because sometimes you lose matches and you have to talk to the players on a daily basis. You can't shy away because the players will soon find you out. You must talk in a professional way to equally professional individuals who know what it's all about. We had a few hairy moments, when we let them have the ball in our half, but the team stayed compact and tight. We put in a brilliant performance."

Let's discuss Francesco Totti. People are disappointed he didn't come on. The opposition had prepared a banner for a living legend. Could you not have brought him on?
"I could have. I thought the team had chased the ball a lot though and I had introduced [Stephan] El Shaarawy as an attacking option because we needed him to score and I wasn't relaxed at 2-0. I've seen games in which we've conceded goals in the space of a few minutes. The team was a bit weary. I don't know what to say, I'm sorry. When I bring him on for the last five minutes you say I'm making a fool of him and I lack respect. Let's take the time to agree on what I should do. The game was still open and they were coming at us with their forward line. If I'm the only one who saw it that way, maybe you guys are right but I've been criticised when he's played five minutes. When I took over, I said that it's not for me to manage Totti's legacy - I must manage Totti the footballer. Last season he did well to make the most of his opportunities and he finished the campaign excellently but I don't know what to do now. The club are there watching and we need to keep our chances of finishing second alive. I'm sorry, I'll be more careful next time."

Were you worried about your team after the derby defeat?
"I was indeed. Rome is such a passionate place that occasionally things can be hard to manage. All of our hard work was nearly completely undone. We get hammered and so at times it's not easy to put things into perspective with the players. As I've always said, I have a team full of men. We are straightforward with one another and we don't skirt issues. We had to win this match otherwise it would have been almost impossible to compete with Napoli. We were caught too often on the break in the last game, which is why tonight we said 'Let them come onto us'. We didn't want to get caught between two stools defensively. We won the ball back a lot and broke well too, even though we were profligate at 2-0. Had El Shaarawy not scored, I think the match would have become very tough."

(Photo LaPresse)