Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco and midfielder Kevin’s Strootman spoke today ahead of the Giallorossi’s match against Atletico Madrid at the Stadio Olimpico. Here are their words:
Your first match in the Champions League. What are you expecting?
I want to see a determined team like the one we have before us. They have certain characteristics and we have to adapt to them, it’s a real battle. I hope we have a good start, Roma have won a bit in the Champions League, and want us to be determined to qualify.
What strikes you the most about Simeone’s football?
The team has identity, he knows what he wants. They’re less aesthetic but more practical, but they always achieve their objectives. He’s gone to two Champions League finals, there is proof of his work. Simeone is a great manager, we know their characteristics and in order to compete on the pitch, we must also put forth our characteristics and stand apart from theirs.
Will it be Florenzi or Bruno Peres? How is Schick?
The team is training well and there are some doubts, but we’re a team. We have to think about teamwork, since I’ve been here I have been trying to instill this in our team’s identity. Peres or Florenzi? I will decide tomorrow. Schick has an injury that is not as bad as expected, I do not know if I will have him for the next match or for the one after that.
How is Moreno doing?
He is fine. He had some muscular problems and is now finding continuity in training.
What ideas do you want to instill into Roma?
I want them to stay close during the match, not being stretched out and hope to see them try to play together and to be competitive. The most important thing is to stay compact and close, both in defence and in attack. You can’t really say our style of play in a few words.
After Porto, how is it to return to the Champions League?
It is very important because the defeat against Porto was very disappointing for us, we did not start the league well because of that. For a player, the Champions League is the best place to be.
Tomorrow what do you have to make a difference in the midfield?
Everyone says we have a strong midfield, but we have show it on the field all the time. One match isn’t enough, De Rossi has played so well in Europe and the World Cup, he has so much experience. Radja and I have shown a little less. The Mister puts the strongest team possible on the pitch, but not only does the midfield matter, it’s important but not everything. I also have to show what I can do, we have the names, but we have to see it in each game. Teams in the Champions League always play well, and tomorrow, we have to get to a high level.
Do you feel like the Strootman again before the injury or you still need time?
It’s a hard question. I hope I can tell you tomorrow after the match. I cannot compare because I was out for two years, maybe I adapted my style of play. Two years is a very long time for a player, certainly I have to do more things to prepare for the match or training. I feel good physically and last year I played more than 50 matches. The only thing I am missing are the mistakes I make due to fatigue. After the match tomorrow, you can tell me if there is anything beyond this.
Have you ever thought about leaving Roma?
The transfer market just closed and already you ask me this? No. Two months ago I renewed my contract for 5 years, I did not even think about leaving Roma.