Five talking-points from the Serie A weekend which featured more misery for Inter Milan and a surprise home draw for leaders Juventus against Parma.
Midfielder Daniele De Rossi showed that, at 35, he is still a key part of the AS Roma side as he returned following a three-month injury layoff in the 1-1 draw with AC Milan on Sunday.
De Rossi’s presence helped steady the ship after Roma conceded 10 goals in their previous two games, including seven in Wednesday’s Coppa Italia defeat at Fiorentina.
“(He) was extraordinary this evening – he only had a few training sessions with the team, but he knows the game well and can raise the game of those players around him,” said coach Eusebio Di Francesco.
“When you’re building a team there are certain players who are vital. Daniele’s timing is excellent and he makes good decisions – he doesn’t show the opponents where he’s going to put the ball.
“In the 4-3-3 set up we can’t do without him. You need certain characteristics in that role.”
AS Roma’s fans showed their anger at the team’s recent performances with a protest at the Stadio Olimpico.
The fans jeered when the lineup was announced before the game — with only De Rossi and midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo escaping the whistles — and displayed banners with the message “Give us respect.”
There was a mass walkout by ultras on the South Curve in the 15th minute of the match while those who remained jeered again at the end.Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti’s future at the club is likely to be decided by their performance at Parma on Saturday,
Inter have failed to score in three Serie A matches since the winter break and slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to relegation-threatened Bologna on Sunday.
Gazzetta said that there was a crisis meeting between Spalletti and chief executive Giuseppe Marotta after the match and the club had decided that the coach would stay on for now, but Saturday would be a key game.
It said that former Inter midfielder Esteban Cambiasso had been suggested as a possible replacement.
Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic, dropped one week ago after saying he wanted to leave the club, was forgiven and included in the starting line-up for Sunday’s match.
“Perisic had felt a bit restless but these things can happen in football and nowadays we must forget the idea of a club symbol who stays for life,” said Marotta before kickoff. “It no longer exists.”
“We must listen to what the players want but also take into account the duties those players have towards a club.”
Perisic put up a brief message on Instagram. “Thank you for your praise and also your criticism,” it said. “Both are my fuels.”
Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala, who finished last season with 22 league goals, has scored only twice in Serie A this season and suffered more frustration in the 3-3 draw with Parma on Saturday.
Having started on the bench, the Argentine was due to come on during the second half but an injury to Federico Bernardeschi promoted coach Massimiliano Allegri to change his mind and bring on Emre Can instead.
Italian media said that Dybala stormed off the bench and headed for the dressing-room before the end of the match although Allegri shrugged off suggestions of discontent.
“I didn’t see that, maybe he was cold,” he said.
Saturday’s match was the only the third time Juve have dropped points in the league this season and they remain unbeaten.
However, they have conceded three goals in each of their last two competitive games, following a 3-0 cup defeat in Atalanta.