Nainggolan: Never considered Chelsea

Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan assures “I never thought about playing for Chelsea” after rejecting the Blues last year.

Nainggolan was heavily linked with a move to Chelsea in Antonio Conte’s first summer at Stamford Bridge but ended up staying at Roma, and the midfielder insisted he had no regrets about his decision.

“Sooner or later, 1-0 won’t be enough,” he said at a Press conference for Tuesday’s Champions League match between the two sides.

“We’re happy for now, we’re enjoying every victory and doing very well defensively, but we can improve going forward.

“Chelsea will have some players back, with respect to the first game. We have to respect them but also be aware of our quality.

“We had a great game in London, but we keep talking about it. We’ll go for the win and there’ll be a full house.

“Interest from Conte and Chelsea? I made my decision. I never thought about how playing in another jersey would’ve felt.

“Serie A? It’s more balanced now and there are teams that have strengthened. Roma are competitive and strong, just like last season, but we’ll see what the results say at the end of the campaign.

“Rotation? We all want to play in every game, but for now we’re taking it in turns and the results are remaining the same, so it’s been the right decision.”

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ADL: ‘They try to stop Napoli’

Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis made some controversial comments. “They’ve introduced VAR, what other obstacles will they introduce to stop us?”

The Partenopei are top of the Serie A table with 10 wins and a draw, including today’s 3-1 victory over Sassuolo.

“How banal you are, always asking about the Scudetto…” the President told reporters at an event in Naples.

“In my view, there is also the satisfaction of performing what others can only envy. When they say Napoli play the best football in Europe, that is a great gift for us.

“For the Scudetto all you need is a slight slip-up, or an incident, or an injury…

“Today we passed the biggest test of all and we defend this top spot for the honour of Naples and the Neapolitans. That counts more than the Scudetto. We’ll win the Scudetto sooner or later, but after that we have to turn the page and create the kind of organisation that annoys the North.

“Now they’ve started introducing VAR, so who knows what other obstacles they could put in our way to try and stop us?

“We’re playing magnificent football, which is not easy, and invested a lot of money, yet people talk about how much the others have invested. We saw that there are clubs who invested three times as much and still lose 2-0 (he said referring to Milan).

“You can only achieve certain results with time and hard work, with consistency. There is always this frenetic approach of fans asking me who we will buy, but why cause problems for the Coach?

“In January we need to find players who are useful additions, not players who stay on the bench and play 10-15 minutes.”

De Laurentiis did confess he had attempted to sign Federico Chiesa over the summer.

“Fiorentina won’t sell him to me. The President of the Viola can’t get himself killed by the fans by selling a gem like Chiesa.”

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Roma trio target Chelsea game

Bruno Peres, Gregoire Defrel and Kostas Manolas are confident they’ll be ready to play when Roma host Chelsea on Tuesday.

The Giallorossi played a 3-3 thriller at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League and take on Antonio Conte’s side in the return leg next week.

Peres limped off during this evening’s 1-0 Serie A victory over Bologna clutching the back of his right thigh.

However, he told Sky Sport Italia: “I’m fine, I think I’ll make it for Chelsea.”

Defrel was also substituted with a slight ankle sprain, but he too walked without apparent problems through the mixed zone after the match.

Manolas was in the stands following a muscular injury, but it’s reported he will be back and might even start against Chelsea.

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EDF: ‘Opponent and son tricky’

Eusebio Di Francesco is proud of Roma’s third consecutive 1-0 victory, but had difficulties facing his son in the Bologna squad.

A sensational volley from Stephan El Shaarawy proved enough to secure the points.

“I told the lads to focus on our style of playing, as in three games we’ve taken 78 corners and kept three clean sheets, so I’m happy,” the Coach told Mediaset Premium.

“I wouldn’t call them ugly wins. We created many opportunities and dominated, but tonight we met a strong Bologna side that created problems with their diagonal runs. The defensive movements were good from my men, although Bologna have caused problems for all the big clubs.

“We can rotate the squad because we remain focused on the same credo, which is to work with the ball. We made a few too many mistakes this evening in their half and in the final third. We must be more clinical to kill the game, which was the same issue on Wednesday with Crotone.

“There were initial difficulties this season working on the defence, just like at school, but the whole team is improving its movements and mechanisms. It’s satisfying to see Kevin Strootman and even Edin Dzeko pressing opponents.”

The standout performer for Bologna this evening was probably Federico Di Francesco, the Roma tactician’s son. Could the winger come to the Stadio Olimpico in future?

“When his Dad leaves, then he can come. He has matured a lot and created the biggest problems for us this evening. I’ll be honest, I had trouble talking to the team about him and calling him ‘Di Francesco.’ We had to stick close and not let him start running.

“On the pitch, you are all strangers. He played his game well and Alessandro Florenzi told me he was a right pain. Federico was an opponent tonight and from tomorrow he’ll go back to just being my son!”

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Player Ratings: Roma 1-0 Bologna

A surprisingly tight game at the Olimpico, but who made a big impression on the Football Italia team?

Words: Ciro Di Brita @Ciruzzo36

Roma

Allison –  7

Pulled off a super save from Adam Masina when it looked like Bologna were about to take the lead.

Alessandro Florenzi – 7

Roma have sorely missed his energy and drive. The local lad was up and down the right wing the whole night and sent in some dangerous crosses.  

Federico Fazio – 7

Used his height to his advantage by winning his aerial battles and almost scored a beauty, controlling with his chest before smashing his shot just over the bar.

Juan Jesus –  6

Was invisible, but that is a good thing for a centre half.

Bruno Peres – 6

Was more visible going forward than defending, went off with a muscular problem.

Lorenzo Pellegrini – 7

Had a solid game being Daniele De Rossi’s legs and covering for Kevin Strootman’s forward runs.

Daniele De Rossi –  6

Gave us glimpses of his ability, most notably when he bamboozled two Bologna players outside his own box before striding forward and playing a pin-point cross-field pass.

Kevin Strootman – 6

Kept plugging away in trying to link the defence with the attack, but his touch abandoned him on occasion.

Gregoire Defrel – 6

Had a good effort on goal after being teed up by Edin Dzeko in the first half, but shot straight at the ‘keeper.

Edin Dzeko – 6

Set Defrel up expertly with a cushioned first-time pass before he missed a free header from a corner. Had a goal disallowed for a tight offside position.

Stephan El Shaarawy – 8

Saw plenty of the ball, but was either crowded out or chose the wrong option before he smashed in a left-footed volley from a corner to win the game in style.

Substitutes:

Diego Perotti – 6

Replaced Defrel and tried to get involved straight away.

Hector Moreno– 6

Came on for the last 20 minutes and settled in to his role.  

Gerson– N/A

Replaced the goalscorer El Shaarawy.

Bologna

Angelo Da Costa – 5

Could do nothing with El Shaarawy’s wonder strike.

Emil Krafth – 6

The Swede was strong at the back and made a few decent interceptions.

Filip Helander – 6

Good blocks on two dangerous El Shaarawy crosses, was the away side’s best defender.

Giancarlo Gonzalez – 6

Was solid and formed a decent partnership with Filip Helander.

Adam Masina – 7

Stuck well to his defensive duties and thought he had put his side in the lead with a strong headed effort that Alison made a miracle save on. Was his side’s best player on the night.

Andrea Poli – 6

Played a nice through ball for Federico Di Francesco early in the game and worked hard in supporting his defence and attack.

Erick Pulgar – 5

Midfielder tried to get on the ball and create something, but was outnumbered and out-muscled.

Adam Nagy – 5

The Hungarian put in a good shift in midfield before running out of gas and was replaced around the hour mark.

Simone Verdi – 5

The little maverick never got into the game, didn’t link up with his teammates and turned a free kick over at the 90th minute.

Bruno Petkovic – 5

Never got a touch and was booked for a ridiculous dive.

Francesco Di Francesco – 6

Had a point to prove while playing against his Father’s side and attempted a spectacular turn and volley that didn’t quite pay off.

Substitutes:

Cesar Falletti – 5

Gave the ball away in bad areas of the pitch.

Godfred Donsah– N/A

Replaced Poli for the last 10 minutes.

Mattia Destro – N/A

The ex-Roma man came on to boos from the home crowd and that was that for his involvement. If he can’t get a game with Rodrigo Palacio injured, then he must be in truly bad shape.

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