Stephan El Shaarawy Revitalised As Roma Find Their Consistency

La Gazzetta dello Sport (Francesco Oddi) 3 goals in his last 2 games, a brace against Austria Vienna and one slipped between the keeper’s legs in the 4-1 win over Palermo: El Shaarawy is the current poster boy of a Roma team who have got to within 2 points of Juventus. In a week like that, he can allow himself to borrow the dab dance, used by others including Paul Pogba, so that he could celebrate with Paredes, and at the same time preach humility and calm. He has also taken responsibility for things that weren’t his fault, like the lead that was lost in the Europa League which came after he had been substituted. “It was a great victory [against Palermo], because we didn’t make the same mistake we made against Austria Vienna, which was giving stupid balls away to the opposition – we kept the ball and managed the game. We’re happy and we just need to keep being as consistent as we are at the moment.”

Roma have won 3 games in a row in the league by increasing margins: 2-1 against Inter, 3-1 at Napoli, 4-1 against Palermo, whose goal came when the game was 3-0 and almost over. “It’s important not to concede goals as well as score them,” El Shaarawy continued, “so we need to all defend as one, but we’re satisfied. As I said in the press conference before, I’ve always been training well and I always try to play my part, and that’s all paying off. How far can we go? A long way, if we make sure our performances are consistent and if we think one game at a time.”

Another player to call for humility was Leandro Paredes, who found the net once more for Roma – a year and a half after his goal against Cagliari, before his loan spell at Empoli. “The goal was lucky,” the Argentine midfielder admitted. “Now we need to carry on like this, thinking one game at a time. I can only improve by playing with Strootman and De Rossi. Despite all the transfer speculation, ever since pre-season training this summer Spalletti has done all he can to make me feel important.” And the results are starting to show: against Palermo, Paredes touched the ball more often than anyone else and won the most tackles.

And what of Emerson Palmieri, who was brought to Italy by the Rosanero but who was then sent back to Santos after 9 brief appearances. Yesterday the full back will have made Zamparini believe in him again and, maybe, Spalletti, who has given him a new lease of life after being frozen out under Garcia and who signed him permanently in the summer, relying on his desire to prove himself. “I didn’t expect to play, but I always try to be ready to play.” For the first time this year, he played the entire game: the first 45 minutes on the right, allowing Florenzi a break, then in his more natural role on the left in the second half, as Juan Jesus – who was on the verge of getting a second yellow card and who was also struggling with a calf problem – had been substituted. The Olimpico applauded him, and he enjoyed the moment, sharing in Dzeko’s joy: “We’re happy for him, now he’s getting what he deserves.”

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