Daniele De Rossi compared Rudi Garcia to Fabio Capello and warned Roma “want to catch Juventus” ahead of their trip to Milan.
The Giallorossi visit San Siro at 19.45 GMT on Monday, click here for a match preview.
“I am in good shape, we are having a great season that inspires enthusiasm. Physically I’m not at my best, as this pain in the toe in my left foot has been dragging on for a month or so,” De Rossi told Roma Channel.
“I just need to rest it a bit, so the upcoming winter break will be useful for me to sort that out. In the meanwhile, I have to struggle through training and play with the aid of painkilling injections.”
It is this attitude that helped him become a hero for Roma fans and a World Cup winner with Italy.
“I have always had ‘sang froid,’ so I kept my composure when the going got tough or I started to become a professional when I was very young. I remember Capello once said my character was one of my best qualities. As far as I am concerned, what Capello says is gospel.”
He had been expected to leave Roma this summer after the Coppa Italia Final defeat to Lazio, but marked his return with a goal against Livorno.
“I already felt like a new man in that game after what everyone knows was a very difficult summer for me. I almost felt like I wasn’t the same person the fans and my teammates wanted me to be.
“We played a friendly in Terni and I am revealing this for the first time, but I struggled before the game and didn’t know why I was going out there to play. I thought what had happened two months earlier would be impossible to wipe out. This city lives football 24 hours a day and everyone talks about it, so it all becomes inflated. I know I had negative campaigns, but they weren’t many.”
The Giallorossi seem to have been transformed since the Coppa Italia Final on May 26, as they are still unbeaten under Garcia.
“The difference is evident and that day gave us an extra push. We also brought in perhaps the best Coach available right now, certainly the best I’ve ever had in terms of dealing with the group. He was the perfect Coach to lead us out of one of the darkest moments in our history. We needed his charisma.
“Garcia does remind me of Capello, but he is younger and in that sense closer to the players. He jokes around more, whereas Capello was more rigid.”
Roma are in second place, three points behind Serie A leaders Juventus, and visit Milan on Monday night.
“I have never believed those who said our objective was to get back into Europe, as we always knew it was to target a Champions League spot,” continued De Rossi.
“If Juventus-Napoli were played today, I’d cheer on Napoli, as I don’t look at who is behind us when Juve are only three points away. We want to catch Juventus.
“Our positive streak isn’t over, it has just gone on pause due to a series of factors including opposition goalkeepers having the performance of their lives and refereeing decisions going against us while other teams were more fortunate in that respect. These things even themselves out over the course of a campaign.
“A few years ago Milan were steamrollering everyone, but this is a different team. I wouldn’t say we are fortunate to be facing them now, as it is a difficult game and much tougher than it would’ve been a month ago.”