Luciano Spalletti said Roma had been saved by their world-class player, following Sunday's dramatic 3-2 victory over Sampdoria. Francesco Totti scored a last-gasp penalty to clinch victory for the Giallorossi, having earlier turned provider for Edin Dzeko's equaliser as Spalletti's side came from behind to secure an important three points.
“We have lapses and then the captain puts them right," Spalletti said. "I want four or five [Francesco] Tottis in this team. If I don’t play him people get annoyed at me but my goal is to produce another player like him. This team needs to find a balance and we can do that with the enthusiasm we saw from the fans at the end of the game today or by unearthing more Tottis. One great player is not enough – you need more than that. I want to find more Tottis in my team. I want to see some of the other players in the squad develop into players like Totti – that’s what we need.”
The coach was also asked a number of further questions about Totti's impact, also answering questions about Edin Dzeko's performance and the team's overall performance.
How nice is it for a coach to have a player perform as well as Totti is at 40 years of age?
“Obviously it’s fantastic. So far I’ve not had much of a chance to play him, in fact the only game I could have played him was Udinese because he wasn’t available against Cagliari and in the two matches against Porto the fact that we were one or two men down changed the game and forced my hand. For me, he can play next year too. The way he’s training and playing – he can do it. I’ve never seen him train with such enthusiasm. He loves this shirt and these fans.”
Will you give him more playing time?
“It depends on the match, but he is capable of playing more. That’s always been my intention. Last year he proved he deserved more playing time and today he’s turned the game around for us at the death, but we’re Roma and we shouldn’t be forced to use Totti just to get some personality into the team. Even the best coach in the world would struggle to do well without more players of his talent and charisma. We made mistakes in the first half that we can’t afford to make, but in the second half we looked like world beaters.”
How did you view the game as a whole?
“It’s simple. We played like the real Roma for 25 minutes, then they got on top of us in the last 20 minutes of the first half. We failed to show our personality and they deserved to take the lead. It’s a shame for [Marco] Giampaolo because Samp played well but Roma deserved to win by the end. We performed well in the second half and all in all we were the better team for 70 minutes, while they were for 20. As for [Emiliano] Viviano, I grew up watching [Lev] Yashin and he reminded me of him today.”