Spalletti: Roma gain Euro belief
Luciano Spalletti hopes Roma’s 4-0 demolition of Villarreal in Spain can “give us the belief we needed” in the Europa League.
Both these teams started the season in the Champions League preliminary round and were dropped down to the other tournament, but the Giallorossi dominated at the Estadio de la Ceramica this evening.
Emerson Palmieri curled in the opener before an Edin Dzeko hat-trick in the Round of 32 first leg tie.
“Edin did so well to make himself available in the penalty area. We have this particular rapport with European games, so I hope this result can give us the belief we needed,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“When we’re against a big team too and 2-0 up, we must always push for a third and fourth goal.”
It’s difficult to square last season’s dismal Dzeko performances with the fact he is now top scorer in both Serie A and the Europa League.
“Dzeko is very sensitive and he feels the responsibility, so when things weren’t going well he was the first to be upset. The goals tonight showed his maturity and skill, such as that feint to commit the defender.”
Can Roma be considered among the favourites to win the Europa League, Manchester United notwithstanding?
“The important thing is to play our football, based on quality and talented individuals, as that can make the difference. It doesn’t matter to us who else is in the tournament.
“We are taking steps forward. After going 1-0 up we went too deep, we were pushed back, continually lost the ball when trying to counter… There’s a lot of work to be done, but this team has the ability to do so much better.
“We need to be more alert on the passes, more precise, as that means saving a lot of energy otherwise spent chasing the ball.”
Emerson Palmieri scored a sensational curler with his weaker right foot, confirming his status as a revelation this season.
“It’s partly that the individuals improve the team dynamic, but also that the individuals improve as part of a solid unit. This team needed a stronger spine and it is growing, the structure of the side is getting so strong from Manolas and Rudiger to Strootman.
“In two days we have another game. Tonight we’ll get home at 4am. These players cannot recover fully in time and I have to make changes, so I want those who didn’t play today to prove themselves equal to the others, to prove it’s a team unit that is strong all the way through.”
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