Roma suffered defeat for the first time under Jose Mourinho after being outscored by three goals to two against Hellas Verona on Sunday evening.
Unsure what to expect from a side who had just changed their manager, Roma were perhaps caught off guard in an up-tempo, competitive match. They took the lead through a glorious Lorenzo Pellegrini backheel, but it was against the run of play and Verona carried on regardless.
After the break, they reversed the scoreline to 2-1, before Pellegrini’s cross was turned into the Verona net by a member of the opposition. Despite that equaliser, though, the hosts bounced back through a spectacular Davide Faraoni goal to win it 3-2.
Roma thus lost their unbeaten start to the season after an uninspiring performance, but this is still an early stage of the rebuild, so setbacks are bound to happen.
Nevertheless, Mourinho will want to avoid them as much as possible. Here’s what he had to say in his post-match analysis.
On where it went wrong
“We lost many individual duels – they dominated at this level. Maybe because this is their game and they feel comfortable with this attitude. In the last 20 minutes, even if I tried to give the team space, we were too emotional. I won’t criticise my players, because I don’t like to criticise when it’s the emotion that takes you in the wrong direction.”
On not having many shots on target
“Sometimes statistics come out with values that do not translate reality well. A shot that isn’t dangerous is counted as a shot. This is a somewhat crude statistic. We didn’t play well, we didn’t play badly.”
On what he felt was positive
“The suffering in the dressing room. I don’t like a dressing room that doesn’t feel defeat. We were wrong out of emotion, because we wanted to score. Obviously when we go back to training I want smiles straight away, I want positive people. But after a defeat I like a sad dressing room.”
On the conditions
“The ground was excellent, better than that of the Olimpico. It was in perfect condition. The referee did very well, even for our goal he did well to give the advantage. Our fans were very good. We lost without excuses.”
On whether Verona surprised him
“No. For me it would be easy to say it was a surprise. We analysed Di Francesco’s Verona, that of last year, we analysed [Ivan] Juric with them, [Igor] Tudor with Udinese and Hajduk. We tried to understand what they could have done. It was not a surprise. Credit to them, but it wasn’t a surprise.”
Francesco Totti’s autobiography is released in English this month by deCoubertin – you can pre-order it here.