UEFA Europa League


See what the coach Luciano Spalletti had to say in the wake of Roma's Europa League exit at the hands of Olympique Lyon. The Giallorossi won 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday night, but were ousted from the competition after losing the first leg in France 4-2.

It's a disappointing win tonight. What's your main complaint?

“You don't have complaints. We're out of the tournament and if you tot up everything over the two games we did make some mistakes. Sometimes we lack that bit of guile you need in games like this. There were things we needed to do differently as it would have handed us the advantage, but we lost our way at times – like in the second half in Lyon after we'd taken the lead. We gave the ball away tonight and wasted energy chasing it. The lads played well, though. All things told, it was a good performance. Their attitude was good and we deserved more given the way we played. Considering how well we performed tonight and in the first half in France I don't think we were inferior to Lyon or deserved to go out. We stopped playing in the second half in Lyon and tonight we just needed to stick another one away. We had lots of chances to take the lead and it would have been easier with the fans we had behind us tonight. I guess it means we didn't deserve to go through but I think we did.”

Did you need Edin Dzeko to step up and produce tonight?

“I don't think there's any point in talking about that sort of thing. There are always players who could have played better or worse. The other day I left out [Mohamed] Salah and I was told he should play all the time but he could have done better at times tonight, for example when they were two on two – that's when he usually excels. Players have dips in form and you have to accept it. You have to look at how the team performed as a whole and we deserved to go through tonight. If you add up the first half in France and the two halves tonight, we deserved to go through.”

What will you say to the players tomorrow? Will you encourage them or have a go at them? How do you push on from here?

“You have to be fair and the lads did everything they were supposed to do tonight. There were a couple of occasions when we weren't quite clever enough in our decision-making but we just needed a tad more luck with those chances we had. Perhaps we should analyse the first leg but it's not worth going back over things like that – it would be a waste of time. We need to build on tonight's performance and try to improve on it. We didn't always do the smartest thing and we shouldn't have surrendered the ball to them at key moments.”

You've had a few so-so results recently in the TIM Cup, Serie A TIM and Europa League. What's happened to the team?

“I think if you look at our matches I could have tried something different at times to give them fresh motivation or fresh ideas, but we were playing well and I felt we should keep doing things a certain way. Looking at all the matches though, I definitely made some mistakes. It didn't help having all these games so close together – all big games and all stacked up on top of each other. Perhaps that's how we should look at it. As a team we still managed to play good football, though. We made a few mistakes against Lyon and Napoli which we ended up paying for – a lack of attention which meant we left ourselves exposed defensively, like when [Dries] Mertens scored. Or there were times when we didn't play the ball as well as we're able to. But if you look at the game against Lazio in the cup, for example, I don't think it was all that bad. We'll analyse it all and try to improve but I don't think we've made any huge mistakes lately.”

Roma were excellent tonight but there were times when it was easier to score than the goals you actually got. Is that calmness in front of goal something you can buy in the transfer market or by working harder? And if it's something you need to work on, will you be the man to do it in the future?

“We have a great team – a little bit naïve at times, but a great team. We have good material to work with and that's what we'll keep doing till the end of the season. As for my own situation, there's no point talking about it anymore because we've discussed it so many times already and it's best not to keep repeating the same things. One thing we should say though, is that sooner or later we need to be playing actual time in football: seeing players stay down to waste time is not good for the sport. Our opponents got injured ten times tonight and they brought on the physios with their stretchers. It just wastes time and I don't understand it. It's horrible to see. And people complain about Italian refereeing! Clearly they should have been given yellow cards much earlier tonight to speed things up. They kept breaking up the flow of the game whenever they were struggling.”

(Photo LaPresse)