Coach Paulo Fonseca faced the media on Tuesday afternoon, to preview Wednesday's Serie A meeting with Crotone.
The Giallorossi head to Calabria looking to build on the weekend's hard-fought win over Sampdoria, ahead of two big upcoming tests of their Serie A credentials.
Here's what the boss had to say ahead of the contest...
The game against Sampdoria was a demanding one, and after Crotone you face games against Inter Milan and Lazio – so is it better to stick with the same players or to rotate?
“As you just said, the game against Sampdoria was physically tough on us. The issue is we have not got time to recover. I’m not thinking about the next few games, just this one. It’s possible that I will make two or three changes. But even if you change two or three players, the approach from the team will not change. As for which players will play, we will have to see tomorrow.”
Is the new general manager Tiago Pinto, and above all the ownership, aware of how important this transfer window could be?
“Yes, they know what the team needs. We are talking about it and we are working together to improve the squad.”
Is it true that you have not made any specific requests to the club?
“I am talking with Tiago. He knows what sort of players we need, he knows which players I think could help improve the squad. There are a few of them. We will see what happens.”
Given the need for rotation during this period, do you think it is more important to have some good options on the bench, or to put out the strongest side possible in order to kill the game off as quickly as possible?
“Aside from whoever will play tomorrow, I’ve already talked about this with the players: Crotone are a good side, we cannot just look at the league table, but how they have done in recent games.
"I watched what they did against Inter and I saw a team that has quality and courage. Especially in the first half – it’s not easy to play like they did against Inter. So if we are to win, we will have to play with both ambition and concentration, against a side that has a lot of quality. They want to have the ball, they aren’t afraid. It will be a tough game.”
Which area do you think the squad needs reinforcement in most?
“I don’t want to talk about the transfer market right now. I can saw that we are working together to improve the squad, but I will never speak about individual players that are not at this club. If and when they arrive, then I will talk about them. Now it does not matter.”
Do you still think that the league will be fought out between Inter and Juventus or do you think there is room for other teams – including Roma – to get involved?
“I will still say that it is Inter and Juventus that are the sides that have invested the most money in order to win the title. After that, there are five or six great sides that could fight for the title. All of us have ambitions. It’s enough just to see what AC Milan are doing right now: it’s fantastic. Right now they are among the challengers, and Napoli and Atalanta could be too. But I still think that Juventus and Inter are the main contenders, because they are the teams that have invested the most.”
Is this window a chance for Roma to give themselves a better chance of clinching third spot, or to close the gap on Milan and Inter?
“No, it’s a chance for us to improve the squad.”
How is Leonardo Spinazzola doing? Will he be back for the game against Inter?
“He’s doing okay, I’m confident that we should be able to get him back for the game against the Nerazzurri.”
Could this game against Crotone be a chance for Carles Perez?
“Carles has improved a lot, he has more confidence now. He could be an important player for the club. He’s developing.”
How important is it for players to move into the small pockets of space between the lines, to create confusion in the opposition defence and allow your attack more opportunities to cause problems?
“It’s difficult to focus on specific elements of a match, they are all important and all linked to one another. I can’t say there is only a problem about occupying these spaces. It’s true that it changes from game to game, but for each game there is a tactical strategy: in one game the more important issue might be the central spaces, in others it could be the flanks. It all depends.”
Can you update us on the condition of Antonio Mirante and Davide Santon?
“They are doing better, they are recovering – but they won’t be ready for the game tomorrow.”
How much more can Rick Karsdorp improve?
“A lot. He’s learned a lot, in attack and defence. But he can still keep improving in a few key aspects too.”
(Photo Getty Images)