EDF: ‘Too much respect for Napoli’

Eusebio Di Francesco feels Roma “showed too much respect to Napoli, but this is a side that had destroyed the teams in its path and didn’t do it with us.”

The goal from Lorenzo Insigne after 20 minutes was decisive at the Olimpico, but Federico Fazio and Edin Dzeko were denied by the woodwork in the second half.

It’s safe to say Roma have been unlucky this term, as in their only defeats to Inter and Napoli, they hit the frame of the goal a total of five times.

“I think Napoli did better in the first half, we were more aggressive in the second, I moved the team back to its usual approach and it’s a shame we didn’t get an equaliser,” Di Francesco told Mediaset Premium.

“Whereas Napoli usually have an extremely high possession percentage, it was actually very even tonight and that’s quite rare to see. We were only lacking a goal.

“At times games are decided by incidents, but those incidents are part of the game. Admittedly, there is some bad luck when we hit the woodwork six times in our own stadium.

“We had wanted to take a different approach, but games can be won at the end or caught up, as we learned to our cost against Inter.”

To make matters worse, Kostas Manolas and Lorenzo Pellegrini went off with muscular problems, a real concern ahead of the Champions League with Chelsea.

“We also have a few too many absences at the moment to make many changes, but I am pleased with the desire of my team, they fought to the end and ultimately allowed Napoli very little. The only chance we allowed them was when Manolas got hurt and it looks like a nasty thigh strain.

“A series of situations come together to mean we get more injuries. Manolas just returned from international duty, but I think in this case it was just one of those things, as he put his foot down badly.

“Federico Fazio was not starting because he had just one training session and took six or seven flights to get back from Ecuador, so perhaps it was best not to risk him. Diego Perotti was also returning from an injury and physically gave if anything too much.

“We wanted to be more aggressive on Jorginho and cut down their creativity, but some of our own passing chains were broken up in the first half, but we got those back on track in the second.

“I fear we had a bit too much respect for Napoli in the first half and that is not what I wanted. We tried to play out from the back, but if you don’t stretch out the teams with movement to create space between the lines, it becomes difficult.”

Roma go into the Champions League showdown with Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, who surprisingly lost 2-1 to bottom of the table Crystal Palace in the Premier League today.

“We have a very difficult test on Wednesday for our Champions League progress. I look forward with positivity, we faced a Napoli side that had destroyed the teams in its path, but they didn’t do that with us.”