De Rossi's Roma revival continues with Monza thumping

AFP , Saturday 2 Mar 2024

Roma continued their revival under Daniele De Rossi on Saturday with a convincing 4-1 win at Monza which boosted their hopes of Champions League football next season.

Roma s Leandro Paredes, centre, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side s fourth goal during the Serie A soccer match between AC Monza and Roma at the U-Power stadium in Monza, Italy, Saturday, March 2, 2024. AP


The three points came at the U-Power Stadium thanks to goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini and Romelu Lukaku towards the end of the first half before Paulo Dybala's stunning free-kick in the 63rd minute and a late Leandro Paredes penalty.

Andrea Carboni netted a fine consolation goal for 11th-placed Monza with a long-range rocket in the 87th minute of Roma's sixth win in seven league fixtures since De Rossi replaced Jose Mourinho in January.

Roma are fifth, one point behind Bologna who sit in the final Champions League spot and are at top-four rivals Atalanta on Sunday evening, with 20 league goals scored under De Rossi.

"I'm just managing a group of human beings as much as a group of players. I try to be honest and direct when I see something that I don't like," said De Rossi to DAZN.

"I'm really happy to be working with them, both for how they perform and how they make me feel."

De Rossi was a surprise choice to take over at the Roma after Mourinho's sudden sacking, but he has so far risen to the task.

The only league match Roma have not won under their former captain was against runaway leaders Inter Milan, a 4-2 defeat but one that came after a fine performance.

Saturday's win was perfect preparation for the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie with Brighton on Thursday, which will be played in front of a packed and loud Stadio Olimpico.

Roma reached two consecutive European finals under Mourinho, who is still beloved by fans for ending a 14-year trophy drought with the inaugural Europa Conference League in 2022.

De Rossi will have star attackers Dybala and Lukaku in good spirits after a strong display from the pair in northern Italy.

Dybala's free-kick was his ninth goal since the turn of the year and his 12th in the league this season, while he also set up Lukaku's first Serie A strike since De Rossi's debut win over Verona.

"If this is the beginning, just think about what this Roma team can be if we keep going like this," said captain Pellegrini to DAZN.

"It gives us a lot of belief. To play a match of that importance after a win allows you to face it in the right way.

"We've had some great experiences in Europe in recent years. It's always difficult, you always come up against good teams who want to play football... what's certain is that we'll leave everything out there."

Earlier, bottom team Salernitana held Udinese to a 1-1 draw, while seventh-placed Fiorentina continue their bid for European football at Torino in Saturday's late match.

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