Luciano Spalletti hailed his team of "true professionals" after they delivered an efficient 3-1 victory over Sassuolo on Sunday. The Giallorossi started slowly - perhaps the result of their European disappointment in midweek - but turned things around long before the end of the game, ensuring a comfortable three points in the end. Spalletti was delighted with the effort of his players, believing the Europa League exit against Lyon could have had a greater effect.
"It wasn't easy to pull off a reaction like this, one of great players, winners and true professionals," Spalletti said afterwards. "After the Lyon match, we risked waking up feeling like we had nothing to play for but actually we have it all: the importance of this team. If as a team they come together again quickly, they can find the victories that get you back into the position to compete for these trophies. The important thing was that the team repeated the standard of football shown the other evening when they raised the bar really high. We wanted to repeat that performance."
The boss paid tribute to a number of players, highlighting the difficult challenge that Sassuolo posed - especially to a side reacting to disappointment:
"The lads made sure they were ready tonight, they've shown the right response," he added. "We ran things through in our heads enough times. Our opponents have a lot of pace in their team and they look for one-on-ones on the wings. We should give credit to these lads who tackled the situation. Kevin Strootman was a giant tonight, especially when you consider he played at a similar level on Thursday. When people speak about Roma, they all say the same thing: Roma have to win. Anyone will tell you that only winning matters when you're at Roma. We risked a lot today because they've got incredible pace up front: I was really impressed with it in the first half. We had never won against Sassuolo before and if we had lost tonight, it wouldn't just be a few poor episodes but a rut."
The boss was also asked about his own future, as speculation continues with his current deal due to expire in the summer:
"My contract being discussed does not mean anything, neither for me nor Roma," he stated. "It could even become a source of motivation: if you're winning fine; if you're not then it's right to go."