May 3, 2018 / 11:33 AM / in 6 months

Soccer: Small details make the difference for AS Roma

ROME (Reuters) - AS Roma’s Champions League exit against Liverpool left coach Eusebio Di Francesco contemplating small details which he believed cost his team the tie, such as their sluggishness in retrieving the ball from the goal when they scored.

Soccer Football - Champions League Semi Final Second Leg - AS Roma v Liverpool - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 2, 2018 Roma's Cengiz Under reacts after missing a chance to score REUTERS/Tony Gentile

“What I can say is that when we score in the 86th minute we have to pick up the ball and place it back in the centre circle,” he said after his side won Wednesday’s semi-final second leg 4-2 but were eliminated 7-6 on aggregate.

“There are small things we need to learn. I’m even more disappointed because there were a few occasions where we wasted time.”

Roma have still to win a trophy since becoming the first Serie A club to be foreign owned in 2011, although they have finished as Serie A runners-up three times during that period.

The team appears to be in an almost perpetual transition phase during the past few years and Di Francesco is the sixth different coach since the takeover.

Roma fans might have been exasperated to hear Di Francesco say that the team were still a work in progress.

“We have lots of young lads in the squad who just need to bide their time and keep developing,” he said.

“It hasn’t been easy to get where we are. We’ve improved so much but I don’t want to settle for this – we must keep moving forward and do even better.”

Third in Serie A, Roma’s priority is now to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League again next season.

“We must make sure we get back in the competition,” said captain Daniele De Rossi.

“Given how big a club Roma is, reaching the Champions League semi-finals should be something we do once every three years, not once every 30.”

Writing by Brian Homewood in Bern, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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