Roma coach Claudio Ranieri praised his team for showing pride after their 2-1 victory over champions Inter Milan dragged the capital side back to within a point of the Serie A leaders.
It has been a remarkable turnaround for Roma who trailed Inter by 14 points when the sides met at the San Siro back in November. Roma clung on for a 1-1 draw then and started a run that has seen them remain unbeaten in 21 league meetings, but in October things looked very bleak for Ranieri's team as they lost three games in a row.
"This is a very proud team. In October things were really going badly and we couldn't manage to catch a break," said Ranieri. "These lads are really enjoying it now and the fans were fantastic."
Ranieri, though, was at pains to remind everyone that his team are still a point behind Inter with seven games left. "We're in the final straight and we'll see what happens. We're a metre behind but we've re-opened the title race and AC Milan are also still in it," he added. "This will be a game of nerves and possibilities for everyone but Inter are still the favourites because they are a metre ahead. But we're there, we have to keep doing what we've done over the last five months. We've done a lot but we've not done anything yet."
The coach was also pleased with how his team reacted to Inter's equaliser, which was given despite television replays showing that there were a clutch of Inter players offside in the build-up. Daniele De Rossi gave Roma the lead on 17 minutes after a howler by Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar before Diego Milito equalised in the second half. Luca Toni bagged the winner with 18 minutes remaining, while Inter hit the woodwork three times during the game, including deep into injury time.
"It was a great game, we had a spectacular first 45 minutes but then in the second Inter showed they are an incredible team with stratospheric players," added Ranieri. "We didn't let our heads drop when they equalised, even though it was offside. We kept believing and we got the win and that's very important for us."
Roma's fans celebrated at the final whistle as if they had already won the title but Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo Taddei, whose mishit shot fell to Toni to fire home the winner, said the players would be keeping calm. "The team is enjoying a special moment. We know the road is still long and we'll keep our feet on the ground," he said. "We have to leave the fans to celebrate. We have to leave the euphoria to them and focus on our next match."
In keeping with recent form, Inter coach Jose Mourinho opted to boycott the press for the sixth game in a row since he was banned for three matches for making a handcuffs gesture during the 0-0 draw against Sampdoria in which Inter had two players dismissed.
And his mood will not have been helped by the seven yellow cards his team picked up, meaning that four players, including captain Javier Zanetti, will be suspended next weekend. That ban will bring an end to 36-year-old Zanetti's run of 137 straight league matches.