Serie A TIM


The Giallorossi moved top of Group E in the Europa League with the result, thanks to goals from Kevin Strootman, Federico Fazio and Mohamed Salah - along with an own goal from Astra's Fabricio.

The nature of the display was exactly what the coach was looking for following the disappointment of Sunday's defeat to Torino.
We put in a big performance," Spalletti said. "We were watchful, consistent and had good ideas. Overall the team played well, staying tight and aggressive and winning the ball back when we needed to.”

Was it better with a more physical left-back?
"It can definitely help, though then you don’t have the same impact going forward as others. Juan Jesus played well today. He rediscovered his main attributes to help the team out above all from set-pieces. He put in a good performance.”

How do you assess Iturbe’s display?
“The fans have realised that he needs to feel people’s faith and support. He’s a good kid who’s perhaps too sensitive. Had he scored after the break, we’d be here talking about a wonderful second half and an excellent performance. At times he’s wary of taking the initiative but when he does so he’s strong, powerful and incredibly quick.”

Do you envisage mixing up your playing style a bit?
I believe you always need to follow through with your ideas but clearly we must do better. We have to show greater quality in our play and make better decisions, especially when we lose the ball, we have to be better set. We afforded Torino a few too many counter-attacks and when you play determined sides, they can find a slight edge in those moments and turn it into something significant.  We have ability and we know the team well. Perhaps we’ve now lost that habit of consistently breaking the defensive line and we need to rediscover that. Plus we created a situation we can work on.

"We tried [Mohamed] Salah out near to [Francesco] Totti to keep the ball deeper and we scored. It’s no coincidence that Totti played that ball to Salah, it’s something we were looking for. If we can create these fresh options, that gives us an edge but we also must work on what we already know, although we’re currently performing a little under our potential.”

Gerson seems to be struggling, wouldn’t you say?
“He finds it hard in Italy in the hole because he’s someone who likes the ball into feet and he doesn’t make runs high up the pitch. He’s not an attacking midfielder in the [Radja] Nainggolan or [Simone] Perrotta mould. He’s technically very good and has a quick footballing brain rather than quick feet. Therefore I see him as midfielder who can get up and down but he finds defending harder than when we have the ball. I think he lacked a bit of self-confidence in the past and that he’s doing better now. I can’t give him much playing time at the moment, so it’s down to him to make his case for selection.”

Totti has proven he can party long into the night...
“We looked at Astra Giurgiu a bit with [Bogdan] Lobont and he told me that they expected us to be celebrating Francesco’s birthday. I told the team that immediately. It wasn’t easy to change our attitude but they managed it. I think the players looked determined in training. That said, in general the party should have been organised at another time. Tomorrow we’ll go again with a full training session.”

(Photo LaPresse)