Luciano Spalletti acknowledged his side had taken a "backward step" following Sunday's disappointing 2-1 defeat to Atalanta. Roma led through Diego Perotti's 40th minute penalty but were pegged back in the second half - as Franck Kessie's last-minute penalty won the game for the hosts. A disappointed Spalletti admitted afterwards that his side had not performed up to expectations in the second half, and had allowed Atalanta - full of confidence after their recent run of form - to take control of matters.
"The issue is that if you stop playing the opposition will obviously do what they have to: get hold of the ball, set themselves and try to score goals," Spalletti said. "We were doing pretty well in the first half, using the ball intelligently, but in the second half this good approach started to go awry and they grew into the game. It's a tough result for us."
Was it tough going from a physical point of view?
"When matches become more combative, we don't perform as well. We either manage the contest through our style of play or, if this doesn't happen, we lose quality like today. If you then commit a couple of mistakes, which is what happened for the penalty, a defeat is always on the cards."
How can you improve on this?
"You can work hard and we've done that. This game, and our past, tells you that when it becomes hectic, we start to give chances away and the quality of our performance drops. We start to make mistakes as well; other than the penalty, there were two or three other occasions where we messed up and it could have cost us. We have to accept this result because it was our performance that led to it. Atalanta are in a great run of form, but we let our quality drop and what we saw on the pitch today is not our true level. Added to all of this, we should have taken better advantage of the chances we created in the first half."
Were we missing the willingness to help out our team-mates in trouble?
"For sure, when a team doesn't fight the main responsibility lies with the coach. It's up to the coach to make the right decisions. In any case, the performance in the first half was what we wanted, but the fact remains that in the second half the quality of our play dropped too much, as I have said. If you don't do something, somebody else will and they'll pass in front of you."
Do Roma have to change scope after this result?
"There's a story behind every game and in this case we've taken a backward step in terms of what we're trying to do and the quality we have. Atalanta were in fine form, but had we played like a team in form as well we could have controlled this contest."