Rizzitelli not worried about Lazio: ‘A small team’

Former Roma player Ruggiero Rizzitelli said the Lazio are ‘a small team’ and is not worried, as the Giallorossi usually ‘struggle against the big’.

The 53-year-old, who played six seasons for La Lupa between 1988 and 1994, fires shots at Lazio ahead of the Derby della Capitale on Friday.

The former Italy international, capped nine times by the Azzurri, helped Roma win the Coppa Italia in 1990-91 and won the German Bundesliga during his time with Bayern Munich in the late 1990s.

With Roma third in Serie A, six points above Lazio at eight, the former centre-forward believes the Giallorossi have no reason to be worried.

“We have a friendly against a small team on Friday,” he joked on Roma TV. “It doesn’t worry me, we get into trouble against the big ones.”

Roma last won the Derby della Capitale in September 2018, when they beat Lazio 3-1 at the Olimpico. Last term, both legs ended in 1-1 draws.

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Liveblog: Serie A Wk17 Super Sunday

Join us for all the build-up and action as it happens from today’s six Serie A games, including the Roma-Inter showdown for second, Parma-Lazio, Udinese-Napoli and Juventus-Sassuolo.

If you are on a mobile device or tablet, then follow the Liveblog HERE.

We begin at 11.30 GMT at the Stadio Olimpico, where a win would allow Roma to catch Inter in joint second place, with the risk of allowing leaders Milan to break away at the top.

Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko both return to the line-ups, as the Nerazzurri try to get back on track after their surprise defeat to Sampdoria.

At 14.00 GMT, Lazio pay a tricky visit to Parma, where coach Roberto D’Aversa makes his comeback just a few months after he made way for Fabio Liverani.

Napoli are still short on strikers in Udine and Hellas Verona host Crotone.

At 17.00 GMT, Fiorentina and Cagliari face off as they both aim to break clear of the danger zone.

Juventus take to the field at 19.45 GMT against high-flying Sassuolo, with only one point separating the teams going into Turin.

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Conte explains substitutions

Antonio Conte explains his substitutions during Roma-Inter and insists he doesn’t want new signings in January.

“I think it was a good game, also in the first half. Don’t forget Roma have our same targets, they are just three points behind us, they sit third in the table. It was not easy to play this kind of game here.

Achraf Hakimi’s substitution in the second half was questioned by DAZN pundits.

“Vidal got injured and Gagliardini replaced him, Lautaro gave so much in 75 minutes, I wanted him to help the team in the defensive phase, Hakimi run so much, he was losing the ball possession too frequently, we’ve played three games in a week, those players have always played and we have substitutions we can use.

“Vidal played a very good game, he had a slow start, but he increased the intensity throughout the game.

“We have an important team that can aim for something important, I don’t see why I can’t use other players too.”

Did Inter sit too deep in the final minutes?

“I think there was a bit of anxiety to get an important result. We told the players to continue to press, because sitting deep is not a good thing. Roma had nothing to lose and tried to push ahead, it’s normal.

“We have our own identity and we always prove it. Fonseca said it yesterday, we are a difficult team to stop. Other coaches recognise it, not everyone does.

“We often concede goals because we press too high and we leave too much space behind us. We’ve allowed so many games on the counterattacks this season.

“On the one hand, it can help you to score, on the other hand you can become more vulnerable if you make mistakes.

“Don’t forget we must have the strength and energy to do certain things, I’ve always used the same XI in the last few games, it’s normal to lose energy in the final minutes.”

Do Inter need to signings in January?

“The verb ‘want’ does not exist this season. In August I was informed about the club’s strategies, we signed Hakimi in April and nobody else arrived afterwards.

“The strategy is clear. I want nobody, I work with these players, we have strengths and weaknesses, but that’s who we are. Forget the Inter of the last transfer window, that’s what I was told.”

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Fonseca: ‘Roma lost intensity’

Paulo Fonseca explains why the first 15-20 minutes of the second half were ‘fatal’ for Roma against Inter: ‘We lost the ability to press Brozovic and Vidal.’

The Giallorossi picked up a 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olimpico against the Nerazzurri.

“It’s difficult for me to comment on this game. We had a good first half, then were not the same team for 15-20 minutes. After Inter scored the second goal, we suddenly got back to being ourselves again,” the coach told DAZN.

“Unfortunately, those 15-20 minutes at the start of the second half were fatal. It’s not physical, because we ended on a high with the same tempo as the first half.

“Inter started the second half by moving Brozovic and Vidal, so we lost the ability to press them in that area. Our team lost intensity and was not as aggressive either, so it was difficult against a side like Inter when we weren’t able to press.”

Roma have tended to fall apart against the bigger clubs, so could this fightback be a turning point for their season?

“What we must realise is that we can play the same way throughout 90 minutes, maintaining our identity and intensity for the full match, because we cannot afford to make mistakes or take breaks against an opponent of this quality.”

It’s the Derby della Capitale next weekend against arch-rivals Lazio.

“It’s another match that we must prepare, it’ll be difficult, as Lazio are a great team. We must focus on what we can improve and that is consistency throughout the game.”

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Conte: ‘Roma measure Inter ambition’

Antonio Conte wants Inter to ‘measure our ambitions’ against Roma, a side that ‘will challenge for the Scudetto or Champions League places.”

It kicks off on Sunday at 11.30 GMT, click here for a match preview.

The Nerazzurri saw their run of eight consecutive Serie A victories come to an end with a 2-1 loss at Sampdoria, but remain one point off leaders Milan.

However, Roma have now closed to within three points of second place.

“We are talking about a strong team that is doing very well and certainly one of those that will challenge for the Scudetto or Champions League places,” said Conte in his press conference.

“We will therefore inevitably measure up our own ambitions against this very strong Roma team. What I want to see over the next three games is the result, because I’ve learned the performance is judged mainly by the result.

“The same goes for the upcoming match with Juventus, we want to measure our ambitions with actions and not just words.”

Conte was asked about the strange tendency Inter have to score goals in the second half and come back from trailing situations.

“It was the opposite last season, so I don’t know why, but our approach remains generally right. We were dominating Sampdoria and yet went two goals down.”

There was also tension off the field with Christian Eriksen’s agent suing Inter for unpaid commissions and reports the club is for sale rather than just seeking new investors.

“I prefer not to get into these matters, that is for others to comment on. We are focused only on giving our all for Inter.”

Conte had also criticised Arturo Vidal for his attitude both in training and on the pitch.

“He trained the right way this week, with determination and focus. You know, sometimes I try to be gentle with my players, at times I need to be harsh, but it’s all for their own good. Arturo knows me very well, he knows that if I don’t like something, I won’t just turn the other way.”

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