Roma defender Chris Smalling stressed that the team must stay focused as they face a packed schedule this month.
The Giallorossi will play three games in the next seven days — they begin their run of matches this afternoon against Sampdoria in the Italian capital.
“This is a distinct part of our season,” began the Englishman before kick-off. “You can’t afford to lose ground and must stay attentive.”
“We struggled last season after the winter break even though we began the campaign well. We can’t repeat the same mistakes that we made last year.”
The Englishman then discussed today’s opponent, who are guided by a familiar face, former Roma manager Claudio Ranieri.
”I’ve faced Ranieri before, he’s a great manager that has won everywhere he’s gone, not just in England,” stated Smalling to Roma TV.
“He is a coach who prepares well for matches and takes advantage of his team’s strength’s while exploiting his opponent’s weaknesses. But we also have a manager who is very tactically astute, balanced, and had us well prepared. We must stick to our game plan today.”