Daniele De Rossi insisted that he was happy with Roma’s friendly win over Al-Shabab, but did admit that the game ‘upset our plans a bit’.
The Giallorossi flew off to Saudi Arabia capital Riyadh to face Al-Shabab in a mid-season friendly at the Al-Awwal Stadium, taking advantage of the nine-day break between their league matches with Hellas Verona and Salernitana.
Roma secured a tense 2-1 win over Al-Shabab, taking the lead in the 54th minute through Joao Costa before Yannick Carrasco responded for the Saudi side 24 minutes later. Romelu Lukaku proved the saviour in the 85th minute, avoiding any possible embarrassment in the friendly.
Speaking in a press conference via TMW after the match, De Rossi first reacted to Roma’s win over Al-Shabab.
“We’re good, we’re working well. Obviously this midweek friendly has upset our plans a bit, but we’ve known that for some time.
“We’ve lost a little bit of our work programme, but we’ve gained knowledge. We spent a bit of time together, in retreat, which never hurts, and we had a new experience. So, I’m happy with this.”
He spoke about his decision to play a lot of younger players or second-string options.
“Yes, I would have also liked to make them play more, but the trip affected us. Yesterday we trained and tomorrow, after a 12-hour flight there and back, we won’t be able to do practically anything. So those who didn’t play tonight would have been stopped today and tomorrow too.
“So, I had to make our players do it for half an hour. We brought in some guys, who got some satisfaction and also showed that they trained very well in the Primavera.”
Finally, De Rossi reflected on his and Roma experience in Saudi Arabia.
“Pleasant, unfortunately short. It’s a distant country, it’s a six-hour flight. You never have time to visit it as much as you’d like, as often happens when you go away. It’s a country in great evolution at a football level, we’re all curious to see what what’s happening.
“And maybe later we will have the opportunity to visit it more calmly. The people here are crazy about football and crazy about Roma, we found people with tattoos of Roma. So, it’s a pleasant surprise.
“They are making crazy investments with football, maybe in a few years we will return and find even more advanced infrastructures. In any case, a good experience.”