Spalletti: “Yesterday? A beneficial win.”

Roma manager Luciano Spalletti spoke to Roma Radio today, a day after beating Inter 2-1:

With a clear mind, what’s the actual significance of yesterday’s win. Is it more important for the league table, the team’s belief or for you, the coach?
All of those things. I would also say it’s beneficial for the team, so they can remain calm. Everyone knows that when you work at Roma, where everything is magnified, it’s important to have the confidence boost that comes with beating a top side. It’s important that we can calmly use the time available to us to develop our targets. Everything’s easier today, there’s great calm around the place, less tension and less of an edge lingering in the dressing room. Even people’s tone of voice is more relaxed, back to normal.

The fact remains, defeats create tension, nervousness and they breed personal disappointment. Whereas when you win, you’re never happy, only a little more relaxed because danger still lurks around every corner and that’s only fair because it’s your job. However there is a difference to suffering a defeat and securing a victory.

Maybe Dzeko’s goal against Inter was the worst thing he did in the match…
Dzeko has rightly been singled out for praise today for his performance yesterday. That’s because there’s a difference between last night’s match and the others. However, there’s also a difference between what he could do and what he actually did. I started to say some of that to him publicly and I’ve used different methods with him, during meetings and one-on-one chats. Now we’re seeing something. I’m not saying it’s down to us but we should look at what he’s producing. There are chances, as we saw last night. At times he doesn’t make the most of those chances. It’s our duty to make him aware of them.

He also operated as a false nine against Inter.
That’s part of his comprehensive range of skills. He really is a complete footballer. With [Sergio] Aguero, who’s more a fox in the box, he was the more mobile striker. You can set up however you like with him because he really is a complete player. All he’s missing is a bit more character. We can say that now and it won’t do him any harm. When you work with someone for more than a year, it’s not just a fleeting judgement.

Occasionally his competitive edge just drops a touch and that’s what determines a player’s performance in Serie A and football in general. We have to make him become meaner.”
[Federico] Fazio and Juan Jesus also played excellently, two players really under fire. It’s only fair we acknowledge their performances too.

No one has just randomly rocked up at Roma. There are people who work for the club and every area is covered. Fazio has been a great find because the strength and ability he has is a big plus for the side. We didn’t pay very much for him, he’s consummate professional and an extraordinary athlete. He also showed character when he came into the side. When you’re at Roma, you don’t have 10 matches to prove what you can do. You’re not a young player who’s given time, you’re mature and Roma give you 10 training sessions before you have to show what you can do. When I throw you into the mix, you need to produce the goods.

And Juan Jesus?
He put in an exceptional performance against his former team and a top player. We can say that now that he’s no longer with “that lot from down the road”. Candreva is an outstanding footballer who creates doubt among opposition players with his positioning. You’re in a triangle made up of the winger, midfielder and full-back. Depending on who attacks the space, he makes a run that gives you the biggest problem.

Yesterday [Napoli boss Maurizio] Sarri said that Juve are in a league of their own. Is that a mind game to motivate his side or is it true?
I can’t comment on what an intelligent individual like Sarri has said, he’s very sharp. If he says something, there’s a reason behind it. We can’t go looking for what it means though. I’d suggest Juve are what we expected. They’ve been good at maximising what’s been afforded to them because they can do a lot more and haven’t played brilliantly up till now. They’re a top team with a great mentality, character and players. But we’re only at 60% of our potential, there’s room for improvement. Maybe we’re at 70-80% but that’s not what you tell the players.

Are you pleased there’s an international break or would you have preferred to keep playing?
We’ve sorted some things out with yesterday’s result. However, there are still things we need to work on. We must continue with the method we’ve used over the last week of taking time to explore things in greater detail.