Eusebio Di Francesco hit back at Roma critics, defended his 4-3-3 system and expects “even more” from Radja Nainggolan against Atalanta.
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“The objective is to start strong with a great performance in Bergamo,” said the new Coach in his Press conference.
“After the friendlies in Spain, where I did not like the performance against Celta Vigo at all, I expect massive changes. I take responsibility for that Vigo game, we have to prove that the team seen for 30 minutes there was not the real one.
“It’s up to us to change people’s perceptions of us and we’ve got the chance to prove some critics wrong tomorrow.
“Atalanta have real physical strength and potential. In pre-season, they looked as if they were picking up right where they left off. Bergamo is always a tough place to play, but we’re eager to impose our football philosophy.
“I don’t like talking about the specifics of my line-up. We must prepare for the game in a certain way and discuss it in terms of a unit that moves as one. The collective is the key, not the individual.”
Di Francesco was asked about the on-going search for an heir to Mohamed Salah.
“I don’t think this is the right time to be talking about the transfer market, as I am focused only on Atalanta. Besides, you know more names than me.
“I expect great performances from this squad and I want to be positive, thinking the team can do well. I am happy with the players at my disposal, then we’ll evaluate the situation – we’re not dumb.
“I have been really impressed by Radja Nainggolan, as he can defend and attack well, a player with enormous potential who can do even better.
“I expect Daniele De Rossi to be a leader in midfield with his Roman identity. I think it’s absurd for you to already be asking me about problems with the 4-3-3 formation, as tactics are not about static numbers. Why should I change everything due to 30 minutes in Vigo?”