Luciano Spalletti declared himself pleased to see his side pick up three points despite struggling for much of Sunday's game against Pescara. The Giallorossi emerged 3-2 winners at the Stadio Olimpico, thanks to Diego Perotti's penalty and an early brace from Edin Dzeko. But it was an incredibly nervy finish, with the hosts hanging on somewhat against Massimo Oddo's struggling side. Having been criticised recently for failing to 'win ugly' when the occasion demanded it, Spalletti pointed out that the team had clearly made a step forward on that front.
You picked up the win in the end, but it was hard going…
“It was indeed. But as a team we’re in a bit of a transition. We’re not interested in playing beautifully but in winning games. I think the team picked up a really nice win tonight, in the way it came. This isn’t an easy place to come, but Pescara played with real calm. They showed bits of play which you can only produce when you feel no pressure on your shoulders. They did well to score two goals too.”
[Edin] Dzeko said that playing as you did today, you won’t win the derby. Do you agree?
“I’ll say that there are no games that you can take for granted and that it’s not only goals and assists that you need to produce in a match. Have a look at Genoa against Juventus. Genoa won their tackles, the one-on-ones, showing great determination. That’s where we need to do better. Tonight, we gave up a bit too much but, ultimately, I can say that the team showed positives in all areas.”
How will you improve with the derby in mind?
“We’ll try and think about all areas before the game. We have to work on what needs improving and, at the same time, we need to keep up what we’ve been doing well so that we get to the game with the best possible balance. We need to capitalise on our opponents’ lapses. Even going up 2-0 today, they were able to cause us problems.
"Pescara played well in their first half against Juventus; they could well have gone ahead in Turin. Going back to us, at 2-0 we should have the mental strength to say to ourselves: we need to put this game to bed. But instead we try to play beautifully and get the ball forward often. It means we end up losing our structure slightly and our opponents then cause problems. We score a lot of goals, but we mess a few up too. I’ll say it again: we need to work on finding the best possible balance.”
[Wojciech] Szczesny made some good saves in the second half, when you were under the cosh. Doing the same against Lazio will be tough…
“It’s hard against anyone, when you allow them back into the game. If Szczesny hadn’t have made the save, [Simone] Pepe would have scored. Their keeper also made a number of important contributions. We perhaps let them have too much but it’s satisfying to take home three points when you haven’t played that well in a game, like today, and you’ve made your experience count.
"This sport is about winning; so that is what really counts, not how you get the final result. Ultimately, we won the game today, deservedly, and we’re happy with that.”