Struggling Roma next travels to face league leader Juventus
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 21, 2018 08:03 AM
FILE - In this, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 file photo, Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco sits on the bench during a Group G Champions League soccer match between CSKA Moscow and Roma at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. With a coach under pressure, players struggling for confidence and an injury-hit squad, the last thing Roma needs is a trip to the undefeated league leader. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)
By Daniella Matar, Associated Press
With the coach under pressure, the players struggling and the squad wracked with injuries, Roma has the added displeasure of next traveling to face undefeated league leader Juventus.
This season, Roma has had its worst start since 2011-12 — its first under American ownership. And it could get worse on Saturday.
"We have so much pressure on us that the wait for the next match has been really hard," said Roma captain Daniel De Rossi, who has been out since the end of October with a knee injury. "We have a lot of pressure on our shoulders. We're in a delicate period because we know we have to do better than we have been doing."
Roma sold the backbone of its squad in the offseason, sending goalkeeper Alisson to Liverpool, midfielder Radja Nainggolan to Inter Milan, and defensive midfielder Kevin Strootman to Marseille.
And although Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco earned a reprieve last weekend by ending a five-match winless streak with a 3-2 win over Genoa, the team had trailed twice in that match. A hefty loss in Turin could mean the end for Di Francesco.
"We are all under observation, including the coach, and we know it," the 35-year-old De Rossi said. "We want to have a great match, more for ourselves than for the importance of the game. Against the strongest of them all."
Roma is seventh in the Serie A standings, 22 points behind Juventus.
The Giallorossi haven't finished out of the top three since 2013. They are already eight points behind third-place Inter Milan, but only three below AC Milan and the final Champions League qualifying berth.
Roma has been let down by its defense this season, but also by its struggling attack.
The team had the second-best defensive record last season, conceding 28 goals over 38 matches. It has already let in 22 in 16 games this season.
De Rossi wants his team to learn from Juventus on Saturday.
"Great teams need great players and great men and often those two things coincide," he said. "Great professionals who are thinking morning and night about what will happen in the weekend's match.
"That is what I have learned the most from my Juventus opponents, who have often been my teammates in the national team. And the older I get the more I see myself with that type of mentality."