Monday, September 24, 2018

Roma must match Juventus model, says Di Francesco

SoccerNews in Serie A 12 May 2018

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Eusebio Di Francesco wants Roma to emulate Juventus’ commanding home record in order to evolve into Serie A title challengers.

Six of the Giallorossi’s seven league losses this season have come at Stadio Olimpico, leaving them at risk of sliding out of the top four with two games remaining.

The challenge to preserve a Champions League spot is made more difficult by Sunday’s visit from a Juve side expecting to sew up a seventh successive Scudetto.

An imposing Allianz Stadium has been the cornerstone of that dominance, the Bianconeri having lost just three Serie A home matches since Massimiliano Allegri took over in 2014.

Di Francesco urged his players to adopt the champions’ professional approach to each assignment.

“Over the last few years Roma have always been a step behind. We need to improve in many areas and reinforce the squad where we are lacking,” he told reporters.

“The biggest step forward will be if we treat every fixture the same way, something that Juventus are experts at.

“We’ve had a few too many defeats at home in Serie A, but not in the Champions League, and again that’s part of the growth process, turning the Stadio Olimpico into a fortress.

“Juventus build most of their titles on a strong home record.”

Roma’s impressive run to the Champions League semi-finals this season could lose some of its shine if they fail to secure a top-four finish, which is under threat from fifth-placed Inter.

Di Francesco says the team’s development hinges on competing at the highest possible level.

“The primary objective is to enter the Champions League, both because of the prestige but also growing the mentality,” he said.

“It’s not to send a message to anyone else, but to ourselves and to help build our ambitions. I think Roma have grown a great deal over the last year, but there’s a long way to go yet.”

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