Strootman: ‘Chievo never easy’

Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman warns “it’s always difficult” to travel to Chievo, despite their “strange” defeat to Inter.

The Giallorossi are in Verona for Sunday’s early kick-off, and they fell behind at the Bentegodi twice last season before eventually taking a 5-3 win.

“It’s always difficult in Verona, we remember last year’s game,” Strootman warned, speaking to AS Roma Match Program.

“Even if we’re playing at 12.30 we can’t use that as an excuse. We need to give everything to bring home the three points – we’re strong, we’re Roma.

“They lost the last game against Inter, conceding five goals. It’s strange, because they never concede many.

“They’ll have a huge desire to bounce back, but we need to show we’re ready to face anyone.

“I think the league is very balanced, with five teams [Inter, Napoli, Juventus, Roma and Lazio] setting a record pace.

“I’ve read that Juve have a point more than they did last year, so if the others are up there it means they’ve improved. Our job is to do all we can to finish as high as possible in the table.

“Every team in Serie A is difficult, we’ll see in April who is the strongest. Right now we have to think of Chievo.

“Where can we reach? It’s hard to say, we’ll see game-by-game. We’re in three competitions and we have to prove on the pitch that we’re a good group.”

One of those competitions is the Champions League, and the Giallorossi topped a group including Atletico Madrid and Chelsea…

“We knew from the day of the draw that we had a very difficult group awaiting us. We know our strength though, and we conducted ourselves well.

“We did what we had to in the Champions League but now it no longer matters. It was definitely a good feeling for us, but we have to concentrate on the league now. The most important game now is Chievo.

“The crucial moment? It’s hard to say, all six matches mattered. We suffered in the first match against Atletico, Alisson had to make five or six saves.

“The trip to London was very important too, that was a really hard-fought point. So I’d say those were the most important moments.”