The Roma fans are skeptical about the qualities of the Italian coach but at the Stadio San Paolo the Lupi won thanks to a perfect tactical approach.
Over the months, we have seen two different Roma. In the first period, the team showed off an engaging offensive attitude that brought great results. Then, something has changed and the performance of the Lupi dramatically declined in efficiency. Some have blamed Di Francesco‘s inability to lead a top team. Others stated that the lazy attitude of the players is the real cause of Roma’s unproductive performances.
As it almost always happens, the truth is in the middle. Although Di Francesco’s 4-3-3 doesn’t seem to be the best tactical scheme for the players that are currently on the Roma roster, often the attitude and professionality of the footballers make the difference.
The criticisms that flooded Trigoria right after the 0-2 at the Stadio Olimpico against Milan shacked the Roma world. But a reaction has promptly arrived.
The 2-4 on the road against Napoli simply was the victory of a group that played with a different approach and a rediscovered tactical acumen. However, in my opinion, ahead of anything else, that was Di Francesco’s victory. The performance of a coach that had the ability to face his senators and reunify a doubtful, demoralized, deconcentrated, and frayed group.
The main difference against Napoli was in the distances between the lines. Yesterday’s 4-3-3 was more efficient because the players had the tactical ability to stay together when they were under siege and ready to counterattack when they had the possibility to do so. De Rossi‘s excellent performance in front of the defensive line defused several Napoli’s dangerous plays. Sarri‘s men mastery in moving the ball rapidly didn’t provide the hoped effect. The Lupi meticulously kept their positioning on the field not giving to Zelinski and Jorginho the necessary space to provide juicy assists to Mertens, a player always able to attack the opponent enclave.
Strootman and Nainggolan played a consistent match as well. They pressed Napoli’s midfielders energetically and efficiently. The Dutchman intercepted several balls while the Belgian proficiently did the two phases with continuity.
Roma is still not out of the storm though. Although the victory at the Stadio San Paolo has reinvigorated its Champions League dreams, other important tests are up and coming. Di Francesco has now the possibility to change the course of a season that still doesn’t look good. A possible streak of victories, combined with qualifying for the next round of the Champions League, could give him the chance to reinforce his position within the club.