Roma defender Bruno Peres appeared on Roma TV today and was interviewed by the club’s official station, here are his words:
You were sidelined with an injury for a while but now you’re back and doing your bit for the team again. How are you doing physically?
I’m still recovering. I’m working my way back to full fitness.
Roma showed great character to bounce straight back after going a goal down against Austria Wien last night.
We played really well and managed to respond instantly. Winning the game was a huge boost for us ahead of Sunday’s match.
Spalletti has said that as soon as Roma ease up a little you come under pressure. Is maintaining your focus one of the things you need to work on?
That’s precisely why we must stay focused for 94 minutes, right up till the end. We mustn’t ease up, not even for a moment. If you relax even for just two minutes, you can come in for all sorts of nasty surprises. We need to be smart and work on maintaining our concentration so that we don’t make mistakes like that.
In the last few games Roma have often switched to a three-man backline and you’ve been given more of a licence to bomb forward. What does Spalletti ask you to do exactly?
We still play with four at the back. It’s just that when we have the ball we switch to three and I can push up closer to goal to help out in attack. It’s the same as before though, not much different.
You’re top of your Europa League group after two wins and two draws. How important is this competition for you?
It’s very important to us. We want to try and go all the way but we have two more big matches first if we want to finish top of the group.”
Edin Dzeko is on 12 goals now. What do you think of his start to the season?
He’s doing brilliantly and we’re delighted for him. He mustn’t rest on his laurels though – he needs to work even harder, do even better, understand where he can improve and keep plugging away because he’s got so much to offer the team.
After the game against Austria Wien, Spalletti said the team is looking stronger mentally. Do you get the same impression?
I think so, yes. We improving in all areas. We have to keep working away and not think about what we’re doing well but focus on our mistakes so that we can figure out how to improve and keep growing.
Next up is a league game against Bologna on Sunday. How important is it to get back to winning ways in Serie A before the international break?
It’s important we stay close to Juventus in the table and it’s important to win your home games. We must stay focused throughout if we want to produce a top performance.
There’s been a bit of bad news recently with the injury to Alessandro Florenzi. How much do Roma lose without him?
We’re sad for him and it’s a big loss for Roma. We’re going to miss him. We have to perform at our best for ourselves, for him and for Roma.
It means you’ll be doing overtime…
Yes, I expect I’ll have to play a bit more now, but that’s a good thing for me because I’m doing something I enjoy. I won’t be alone when I’m out on the wing: Alessandro will be there with me giving us a hand and egging us on.
Antonio Rudiger has come back in fine form and lasted the full 90 minutes yesterday. What did you make of his performance?
He was excellent and I’m really pleased for him because he’s a smashing lad who deserves it. I’m glad he played so well and he did so for the whole match. He was a big help for the team. That’s great for him and it’s great for us.
Do you ever think about playing for Brazil?
Yes, I do think about it but I have to improve in lots of areas if I want to earn a call-up.
Is the title race still open? Do you think Roma can push Juventus all the way down to the wire?
I think we can but it’s still early days and there are lots of games to play. If we want to keep up with them, we need to make as few mistakes as possible. I think the Scudetto will be decided in the latter stages of the season this year.
The travelling Roma fans gave you fantastic support at Sassuolo and at Empoli. What would it mean to have the fans back at the Olimpico too?
It would be a massive thing for us to have them back again at home. When they’re behind us it’s harder for our opponents and we become even stronger.