After challenging his side to prove their character in the wake of the defeat to Real Madrid, Luciano Spalletti was full of praise for his side following their 2-1 win over Udinese on Sunday afternoon:
“All I’ve got for my side today is praise,” said Spalletti after the game. “There’s always a danger that going out of competition like the Champions League can have an adverse effect. It was a delicate game today and the lads put some great work in to deal with a dangerous match well. They played their game, managed the game and deserved the win.”
“Momo [Salah] fooled the opposition defence with his pass for [Edin] Dzeko to make it 1-0 – they were trying to play for offside. The second goal was a great team move. Florenzi came from wide to attack the space behind the defensive line and then he showed how much quality he has. He’s so technically gifted that every now and then he can do some amazing things. It was a fantastic goal.”
There was a good performance from Edin Dzeko too after Spalletti asked him to respond on the pitch: “I’d asked for a reaction from Edin and he showed us he's capable of doing certain things, and there's even more to him than that. He’s earned another start with this performance.
“My team knows how to play football and keep the ball, upsetting the defensive plans of opposition teams. We need to make sure our players regain confidence in their abilities. It’s a psychological issue – they need to understand what it means to play for such a big club in such an important city. That’s the main thing. If they focus on that then the rest comes naturally, as is already happening. They played some good football today and I was applauding them regularly throughout.”