Luciano Spalletti gave a far-reaching interview with the media at the opening of his new restaurant in Florence on Monday night, touching on the quality of Roma's squad, his relationship with Francesco Totti, the Scudetto race and the Giallorossi's next game – the Rome Derby on 3 April.
ROMA: “I think the first area where a coach needs to show his ability is in getting the club to sign the players he wants. Let's not forget it's the players who win games for you. There are lots of quality footballers at Roma – an excellent job was done there before I arrived. We have some top players and a great sporting director who has managed to put together a good squad. Of course sometimes you get periods when the results aren't coming for you but if the team lacks quality it's hard to come through them".
“My staff and I have been able to bring out the quality these players possess but it's a long process and we're only at the beginning. There are other things we need to learn so we must keep doing our jobs professionally and work on all the fine details. These lads have lots more quality to show.”
TOTTI: "Will I invite Francesco Totti for a meal at my new restaurant? I haven't yet because he's just had his third child so he needs to stay at home with his family and do his job as a dad. But I'm sure he will because I have a good relationship with him and I want that to continue going forward. Sometimes you might get a bit caught up in the tension that comes with football but it's normal. It's all water under the bridge".
"I think I played a small part in helping Francesco become the legend he is today. He's an extraordinary player and I place him up there alongside [Leo] Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Gonzalo] Higuain.”
THE DERBY: “The derby is a big game because it can give you more than just three points – it brings enthusiasm too. It's an important match for our league position and it's important for our fans. Like us, our opponents will prepare for it down to the finest detail and in [Stefano] Pioli I'll be facing one of the coaches I rate most highly. He's very good – his players say that, not someone who watched a match that went wrong. Hopefully we'll see a great game of football that will do both teams and the city proud.”
THE SCUDETTO RACE: “Can Roma win the title? We're some way off the summit so I think it's hard for us to aim for the top but there are still lots of games and points to be won. We can try and give Napoli a run for their money, although we have to be realistic and look at the magnificent football they are playing. They keep winning all their games so I think it's going to be difficult".
“Napoli have to hope Higuain keeps producing the goods because Juve have three players doing that for them up front while Napoli only have one. Personally I hope he maintains the level he's at because having two teams playing great football since the start of the season and still up there fighting it out is a good thing for Serie A TIM.”