Luciano Spalletti is “sorry I couldn’t unite the atmosphere at Roma” and “always told Francesco Totti what I thought”.
The Coach took the Giallorossi to a record 87 points last season, but he was whistled after the final game of the season, largely due to his perceived problems with Totti.
Spalletti left to join Inter at the end of his contract, and he reflected on his second spell in the capital in today’s interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t unite the environment at Roma,” the Tuscan said.
“Everything I tried to do was for the good of Roma and the balance of the team. Francesco is a unique phenomenon, with him everything becomes amplified.
“I wish him the best, also as a director, but as a footballer all that love didn’t always help. Totti is Roma, it’s true, but Roma is also Roma.
“I always told Totti what I thought. I hope I can be his friend. In the past, with different proportions I had similar things with [Pietro] Parente at Ancona and [Marek] Jankulovski at Udinese.”
Spalletti will be hoping to lead the Nerazzurri to a Scudetto challenge, but he sees plenty of other strong sides.
“We want to win as much as possible, but many others are thinking that same way… Juve and Napoli are the best equipped.
“Napoli are perfect, because they’re capable of playing short but then suddenly they can find depth. They take the ball off you and they refuse to give it back again.
“Roma have a good bodywork and engine and the best midfield. You don’t find space against monsters like [Radja] Nainggolan - whose intensity stops the opponent from building play - [Daniele] De Rossi and [Kevin] Strootman.
“There’s also a talent like Gerson, who lost a bit of confidence at the end of last season.”
Spalletti was also asked for his opinions on Italy, after Giampiero Ventura’s side were thrashed 3-0 by Spain last Saturday.
“I actually started playing with Ventura at [Virtus] Entella and Spezia,” the Coach pointed out.
“As a Coach, the first person I sounded out for advice was him. Ventura is good, but he’s trying to lead the national team like a club.
“He’s accelerated the inclusion of the youngsters, but when you’re working for the future you can lose something in the here and now.
“I find myself in disagreement with him on the midfielders, but I repeat: he knows more than me. I don’t like positional midfielders though, I basically rely on nine at the back and six or seven up-front.
“I have blind faith in Ventura though, his teams have always played well and scored a lot of goals.
“We had to get three points in Madrid. It’s easy to say to the team ‘let’s go and win’ then set up in a defensive formation. You have to hold to your words.
“I also want to emphasise the great work of [Maurizio] Viscidi who is responsible for all the national youth teams.”