Pallotta: ‘Never criticised Di Francesco’

Roma President James Pallotta denies criticising Eusebio Di Francesco – “I want to meet this journalist…”

It was reported that the American owner had criticised the Coach after the 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid in Tuesday’s Champions League match, but the patron denies all knowledge.

“There’s a tendency to invent things in Rome,” Pallotta sighed, speaking on Roma Radio.

“I woke up this morning and read this thing, it was a total shock to me. I’d like to challenge this journalist to a face-to-face meeting, where he can give his evidence of what I told the team.

“I’m happy to offer him dinner and $50,000, I’m really tired of these people…

“When the match against Atletico was finished, I went to the dressing room and I congratulated Alisson and [Kostas] Manolas who gave us heart.

“I congratulated [sporting director] Monchi and Di Francesco, I didn’t use negative words toward the team.

“What I complained about was that when I looked at the replays we could have had a penalty in our favour in the first half, and one in the second half.

“I’m very happy with Monchi and Di Francesco’s work. I reiterate my invitation to this journalist to prove the opposite. It’s good for Roma fans to have a precise outline of those who want to tear Roma down.

“I’m sick and tired of this, but if I have to intervene every day to refute this kind of invention then I’ll do it.

“The team is working hard at Trigoria, we have a new Coach and the best sporting director in Monchi.

“We won in Bergamo, which isn’t easy, we hit the post three times against Inter and there was a clear penalty, then the game ended badly.

“In the Champions League we played a team which played in the Champions League final twice in the past few years so 0-0 against them is a good result. Just look at the results of the other Italian teams in the Champions League.

“We’ve got some players to come back, and we haven’t had a team like this since I’ve been President.”

Pallotta was then asked about the importance of the next month, but batted the question away.

“I don’t want to look at the next month, we’re trying to build something long-lasting, and in the coming months there will be positive, definitive news on the stadium.

“Luck is always a factor on the pitch, and maybe we could lose some games in the next month, but there will always be the month after.”