EDF: ‘My Roma regrets’

Eusebio Di Francesco has revealed his biggest Roma regret, “accepting the departures of Radja Nainggolan and Kevin Strootman.”

Di Francesco led Roma to the Champions League semi-finals in his first season with the two experienced midfielders, but they were sold the following summer and the coach was sacked before the end of his second campaign.

“It was a great midfield, with great technical and mental qualities,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“I had some regrets accepting the departures of Nainggolan and Strootman. I was sorry to see them go.

“Emotionally they were important in training. They interacted with others to do what I asked.

“I missed them in my second season at Roma, especially for their attitudes.”

The Giallorossi famously overturned a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona to reach the last four.

“We transmitted a kind of joy that can’t be put into words. We wanted to convey our ideas and team identity in the game.

“That attitude was also seen in three days of training. It’s crucial to get into the heads of the players, something I was unable to do at Sampdoria. Memories are beautiful.

“It’s a shame about the semi-final because we played well and deserved more.”

Finally, the ex-Lupi midfielder was asked about the best players he had coached and played with.

“The best player I’ve coached is Dzeko, a total talent. The player I watched grow but refused to come to me because he felt like a third choice is Berardi.

“Montella is the best player I’ve played with in terms of efficacy, Batistuta for his arrogance and great mentality.

“He had joined Roma to win and he gave us that mentality. The most talented is clearly Totti.

“He had impressive ability, both technically and physically.”

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