Roma captain Daniele De Rossi has resorted to classic long-ball shaming in an attempt to soften the blow of last night’s Champions League semi-final humbling against Liverpool.
The Giallorrossi back five were repeatedly breached as the home side galloped to a 5-2 first-leg victory, but only because they had the temerity to expose their visitors’ defensive frailties again and again.
Of course, using such boorish tactics as pitting lightning quick strikers in a foot race against stodgy defenders is a strict no-no when it comes to ‘elite’ football, and De Rossi was quick to subtly admonish the Reds for stooping so low:
They just constantly went for the long ball, from any area of the pitch, and it’s difficult to cover that space when there are players who are always faster than you.
We got the feeling they were going over the midfield completely, so we couldn’t intercept the ball.
We started strong, but then suffered under their pace and the ferocity of their attacks. We have to learn those lessons for the second leg.
How many of Liverpool’s five goals actually came directly from a long ball? One? Two, perhaps?
How many times do you see this these days? Supposedly superior clubs/managers belittling defeats by hinting at ‘anti-football’ and chastening lesser opponents for not simply lying down and letting them have the run of things; by ‘going long’ or ‘being physical’ – like that’s some sort of underhanded nether-tactic.
In hindsight, Roma should have probably seen the Mo Salah-Sadio Mane-Roberto Firmino whirlwind coming, seeing as that’s exactly how they approach every single game.
Perhaps, instead of capitulating and then whining about it, De Rossi and his men should have studied the form and adapted their defensive strategy accordingly?
Just a thought.