Roma coach Luciano Spalletti admitted his side will have to show great strength of character to bounce back from Tuesday's disappointing Champions League exit. The Giallorossi lost to Porto at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday in a game that saw the hosts reduced to nine men, something Spalletti acknowledged was "not acceptable. We lost a big match which will be very tough to bounce back from," Spalletti said. "It’s a hard result to stomach given how the match went and how much effort went into getting here in the first place.”
We were expecting a determined display from Roma yet that didn’t seem to ever come. Would you agree?
“We made mistakes in possession at the start of the game. That was something I’d stressed but we didn’t manage it. They did well to score early on. Just as we were getting back into shape we went down to ten men again and from then everything became very tough indeed.”
What’s your take on the three dismissals in two games?
“Naivety. Ever since I took over last season, we’d never ended a match with ten men, whereas now it’s happened twice in a row. I’m at a loss to explain it. We definitely could have dealt with those situations with greater calm.”
The team were a little disjoined don’t you think?
“We didn’t come into tonight’s match in the best shape, above all due to injuries. Obviously I had devised a plan to manage the game, hence why I picked [Daniele] De Rossi at centre back, he knows how to play that position. However we didn’t use the ball properly, losing possession not due to the opposition pressing us but merely through carelessness on our part. They grew in confidence after the opening goal and became more relaxed, whereas we were even more on edge. Then came the sending off and the going got tough. We’ve had a man sent off twice in a row in two massive games and that’s not acceptable.”
With the benefit of hindsight, would you change anything about pre-season?
“No, I wouldn’t change a thing because – besides today’s game – it’s all gone very well. I don’t see what you’re getting at. Tonight we started the match badly and they caused us problems psychologically on the back of our mistakes. Then we even had chances to equalise despite conceding and being two men light. Hence why I’ve said that I wouldn’t change anything besides the start to tonight’s match. Now we have to get over this result and we have a tough run coming up where everyone will try to latch onto this defeat. But we have to make sure we keep our heads down, block it all out and just think about working hard. We need to work hard and move forward.”