Roma suffered a 2-1 road loss to SPAL, and new manager Claudio Ranieri reacted strongly to the possibility that the club will miss out on Champions League qualification next season.
The Italian stated after the game that Roma “played against a team and we were not a team. Effort without organization is not enough.”
Ranieri did not stop there. He eviscerated his player, saying their desire did not match what the game required, and that the players were unable to keep up with SPAL’s effort level, with the home side fighting relegation.
“We lost practically every duel, especially the ones played to feet, and you could see their desperation,” Ranieri said. “SPAL then tried to stall and waste time in the second half, which I fully understand in their circumstances. There are some players who don’t have these characteristics, others are lacking confidence at the moment, but between the two sides, SPAL were certainly more determined.”
Roma out-shot the home side 16-10, but each team finished with four on target. Diego Perotti scored for the visitors in the 55th minute to level things out, but just four minutes later SPAL restored its lead as Juan Jesus committed a foul in the area and Andrea Petagna buried the effort.
After the poor effort, Ranieri said his players could face the axe if they don’t improve. “We need to be more determined, more of a team and also improve our tactics, because we ran hard, but with no real reasoning and that’s not good enough. If Roma go into the Champions League, that is one thing. If they don’t, then quite a few will get a change of scenery. I’ve told the lads since the first day, they have to prove themselves.”
Roma sits three points back of a Champions League place in fifth, but with the loss all four teams above them now have a game in hand as well.