Eusebio Di Francesco enjoyed winning the Derby della Capitale more as a Roma Coach than a player, but praised Radja Nainggolan as “a superhero.”
Diego Perotti’s penalty and a Nainggolan strike paved the way for the 2-1 result, although Ciro Immobile’s spot-kick made it a tense finale.
“It’s very satisfying for us the way we approached the game, as until the Lazio penalty, I saw real domination from Roma,” the Coach told Mediaset Premium.
“To play a certain way, you need good physical condition, otherwise you can’t press and be ready for their rapid counter-attacks. We stepped up the pace in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, pinned Lazio back into their own half and fully deserved the victory.
“I was impressed with the way we stepped up the pressure, as to be aggressive you need to run risks, and it was a risk against a Lazio side that excels in diagonal balls and counter-attacks. I think in the first half, we didn’t make enough vertical passes.
“I prefer our moves to be more incisive and effective in attack. We occupy the penalty area, but Edin Dzeko is stronger at that role than the rest and we all need to work on it.”
Even though he ended up on the scoresheet and probably man of the match, Nainggolan was a huge doubt to feature after leaving international duty with injury.
“Nainggolan really did have a groin strain eight days ago, so he showed an incredible ability to push through pain. They call him Ninja, but he’s more like a superhero!”
Di Francesco has now won the Derby della Capitale as both a player and a Coach, so which is more enjoyable?
“I must say playing the game is a different sensation, but to win it as a Coach today I feel great pride and satisfaction.
“I spoke to Francesco Totti before kick-off and told him it was his first without being involved as a player, but he was remarkably calm and relaxed. I told him we’d celebrate afterwards and we will.”
Roma leapfrog Lazio in the Serie A table and still have a game in hand too, so are they genuine Scudetto contenders?
“This is a Roma side that is improving, with great belief, focusing already on the next Champions League game with Atletico Madrid. We want to stay close to the top for as long as possible and I think we’ve got the right mentality to achieve that.
“Nobody put us among the list of contenders for the Scudetto and I’m happy to keep it that way.”