Daniele De Rossi feels neither Roma nor Juventus are “particularly superior” to each other, but admits he’d have complained in their shoes.
The 1-0 Coppa Italia quarter-final victory came just two weeks after the Giallorossi were beaten 3-0 in Turin to open up an eight-point gap at the top of the Serie A table. What changed?
“The result has changed, which isn’t to be sniffed at. We had played well in the first half in Turin, but Juve did well to take an early lead and double it straight after the restart.
“When games are this balanced between two great sides, a single goal can be decisive,” the midfielder told Rai Sport.
“We focused a great deal on set plays, which was where the goals came from in Turin, and perhaps playing at home made us a little bit more aggressive.
“I didn’t see Juve looking particularly superior in Turin, nor were we particularly superior here. The two teams are on a similar level and I am pleased to say that.”
Federico Peluso had the ball in the net at the dawn of the second half, but the goal was not given because the linesman flagged Mauricio Isla’s cross had gone out of play.
“It seemed ok to me on the pitch, but I honestly don’t know, as I was at a different angle to the linesman. I hope he made the right decision. If this time we were helped, then in other occasions we were penalised, so we’ll take it!
“I’ll be honest, if I had been on the other team in that situation then I would’ve protested a lot, because from my position it didn’t look out of play,” confessed De Rossi.
Does this victory give Roma the sense they can get back into the Scudetto race?
“Unfortunately this win isn’t worth Serie A points, so it’s all still as it was! It’s a shame we dropped points, for example against Sassuolo, but the season is long and we can only try to win them all. I think we can do it because, apart from Juve, I believe Roma are stronger than all the other teams.”
The Giallorossi will play either Napoli or Lazio in the semi-final next month and De Rossi immediately said he didn’t want a repeat of last year’s Final.
“I prefer to face Napoli in the semi-final. To play three derbies in a week is not easy. Last season they looked more of a team, whereas this year Roma are now more solid.
“Thank God, everything has returned to what it was. This time a year ago I was knocking on Walter Sabatini’s door every other day and wasn’t happy. Having not necessarily a winning campaign with Roma, but even a dignified one, is the best thing in the world for me.”