After last week’s home defeat to Fiorentina, the Partenopei again wasted a golden opportunity to remain in the title race, as they had the 1-0 lead through Lorenzo Insigne’s penalty until Stephan El Shaarawy scored a late equaliser.
“There is some disappointment, because for long periods we controlled the game well. We were up against a strong side that created problems for us,” Spalletti told DAZN.
“We’re disappointed about the final stages, we introduced fresh midfielders, but were unable to control the ball in the way I had expected and the goal we conceded was definitely avoidable.”
The coach has come in for a great deal of criticism due to his substitutions, which were aimed at defending the 1-0 lead and removed all his strikers.
“Even before that, we weren’t very fluid and they were spreading it wide to their wing-backs. In terms of our tactics, we improved, but those who came on could’ve done better. We had four out of five players fresh, yet we tried to put the ball long instead of passing it to feet the way we know how.”
Insigne was distraught after the final whistle, saluting the supporters in tears, aware his last chance of winning silverware with his hometown club had gone.
He will leave at the end of the season to join Toronto FC as a free agent in MLS.
“Naturally, the fact we are getting closer to the moment he will be forced to abandon the team he always played for will provoke certain sensations. He played well and above all when he had to take on the responsibility of the penalty, he did his duty.”
Mourinho ranted about the referee in his post-match comments, claiming the officials had prevented Roma from even attempting to win the game. Spalletti was asked if he wanted to respond.
“No, I won’t respond to Mourinho. From the first moment I came here, I always told my players to behave well, not raise their voices. The result is that when opponents come here, they act like they are the home team, crowding around the referee and doing anything they want.
“If I could go back, I would no longer have asked my players to do that, because some referees are influenced by this attitude. I am not just talking about Roma, either.
“Di Bello was called to check the VAR review because that was a penalty.”
The fact remains, Spalletti has again come close to a Scudetto challenge only to falter. How does he judge the campaign?
“I am judged by what I do. For long periods, we played good football. I think today’s result penalises us in terms of the table, but it gives dignity to the football we played.
“We could’ve doubled our lead in the first half, but towards the end we struggled to keep hold of the ball.”
— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) April 18, 2022