Roma coach Luciano Spalletti was full of praise for his side - especially Francesco Totti, Stephan El Shaarawy and Kevin Strootman - after Roma clinched another vital three points against Genoa on Monday. Speaking to Mediaset, Spalletti admitted that Strootman showed in his performance that he could have made his return sooner, while expressing his delight at the way his side kept fighting until the end once again.
A great performance by Roma and a great performance by Totti:
“It was and let's not forget that save by [Wojciech] Szczesny at the end either – he deserves a mention too. Obviously Francesco has done more than what we could have expected from him in the last few games. He's done a brilliant job for us, doing the things he does well. He always comes on really fired up. He's part of the team and he wants to do his bit, as he showed once again today. [Stephan] El Shaarawy scored a great goal after some sterling work by [Edin] Dzeko on the left. The whole team played their part in helping us get the win today and it was a crucial result for us. Totti is helping to win games together with the rest of the team. Totti's a genius and geniuses have their nights – they need to be used at the right time. He's worth more than 24 carats.”
You produced some lovely football in the first half and a resilient display in the second:
“Good football, the right mentality, belief, quality – it was all there today. A magnificent performance. People can say what they want, they can pick at our faults, but my players were superb today – and together they won a huge game. Totti played a big part. He's been doing that for us recently and that's how it should be. He's capable of stuff like that. When he laces up his boots and comes on like he did today we've got it made.
"His renewal? I've already said everything I have to say on that and I've told everyone. You should be asking the president, not me. I'm on my players' side there and it's only right they should be repaid. I spent five years with Francesco at Roma and his numbers and his performances were amazing – we did that together. I'll be delighted if Francesco carries on playing. If he does what he wants to do, I'm right behind him. If he wants to keep on playing, I'm with him.”
Kevin Strootman turned in an impressive display too. Will he be like a new signing for you next season?
“Of course. Strootman showed that he's ready. It's my fault because I didn't play him sooner but he was ready before too.”
Do you need to be a bit tighter at the back next season?
“It's not easy when you get teams playing with the pace Genoa played with today – they caused problems for us. We mustn't let ourselves get knocked out of our stride; we have to keep playing our game and trying to win. We played well in the second half today as well. If you create more than your opponents – and sometimes you create much more, as we did tonight – then you deserve to win.”
Do you believe you can finish second?
“Anyone in our shoes would believe they can. We have to win all our games and hope they draw one. That can happen in football, so of course we're pinning our hopes on it happening.”
What do you need to bridge the gap with Juventus?
“I don't know. I only played against them at the start of my time here and I can't give an objective opinion. What I do know is that they've put together a run of wins, they have quality all the way through their squad and they went out of the Champions League by the narrowest of margins, and probably deserved to go through. You need to assess things at the end of it all, so after these last two games. My team have played with tremendous character in the run-in. They've been superb off the pitch too, showing the right attitude in training and in the dressing room – that time is just as important as when you're playing matches.”