Coppa Italia


See what Luciano Spalletti had to say in the wake of Roma's disappointing 2-0 TIM Cup defeat against city rivals Lazio. The Giallorossi lost after goals from Sergej Milinkovic and Ciro Immobile, and will need to step things up considerably if they are to progress after the second leg next month.

How do you think this game might affect the team's morale?
“We'll see what happens in our next few matches but we'll keep on working. With the way the lads have been playing recently, we've been able to describe Roma as a mature side; depending on how they respond to this, we'll see how mature they really are. It's a tough result to take and we have to overturn a difficult scoreline now.”

Does today's result mean you need to pull off the incredible in the return leg?
“It's a result that means we have to be careful. They'll try to play the same game as today and we must perform better. But playing at home it's perfectly possible for us to turn this tie around.”

Are you a bit disappointed with your team's mentality today?
“We had the right mentality, especially at the start. We needed to do better in possession because they were sitting back on the edge of the box. We had to close the space between our three centre-backs and their forwards because that way when you're playing in such tight spaces and you lose possession you can quickly close down their forwards, whereas if you're 15 metres away they can run at you and get the ball down the other end. They cause problems for you because they have more space to play in – and that's despite us having much more possession.”

Perhaps your play lacked fluidity today?
“We didn't do very well playing in a crowd in the final third. There wasn't much space to play in, just 80 centimetres. With them all packed so tightly together, we needed to stretch them with our centre forward and pick up the ball between the lines with our attacking midfielders and wide men. We didn't use the ball well in tight spaces and instead lost possession. We managed to play through the middle a few times and get balls onto [Edin] Dzeko's head. We did manage to create space at times but there were lots of players outside the box and we struggled to play the right balls.”

Was there perhaps too much responsibility placed on Radja Nainggolan?
“You can say anything now and you have to accept it all but I don't think he played badly. He did well when I had him drop back too, although he did it in fits and starts. Perhaps he took on a couple of shots he shouldn't have but he has the ability to shoot. He brought the ball forward and chased the opposition. I think he played well. We can't expect him to score two goals like last time every game.”

Were Lazio better than Roma tonight?
“They played the way we expected them to. They did exactly what they needed to do, whereas we lost possession playing in the crowd. We needed to manage possession more calmly, without always trying to do something special, so that we could tire them out more. Our possession play wasn't so fluid tonight. We lost the ball outside their area when we tried to play it and they made us run all the way back. They had their game plan, they stuck to it and made it work. We weren't so good at ours. They did very well to get their two goals.”

Did you expect your defence to struggle to contain Ciro Immobile?
“If you let him run at you, he can cause problems for anyone. He's got 70 metres in him and it's difficult once he's in his stride. If you close him down immediately when he receives the ball then you can stop him.”

Are you expecting Napoli to be angry?
“I think we'll come up against a Napoli side in form even though they've lost a few games. They play good football and they've shown that in their recent games too. We're expecting a tough match and we must be ready for it. You get nowhere using fatigue as an excuse. The games are coming thick and fast at the moment and we just have to be ready for them.”

(Photo LaPresse)