Montella: Players lost focus
Roma coach Vincenzo Montella believes the sale of the club distracted his players and led to their 3-2 Serie A defeat at home to Palermo today. Thomas DiBenedetto and a group of American investors bought the majority holdings in the Giallorossi in the early hours of today from the Sensi family after months of negotiations.
"Throughout the week we had not experienced an easy or calm situation and that didn't help," Montella said after the game. "It seemed that the signing had to take place the day of the game but this is no excuse. Players of a high level should distance themselves from this and we weren't able to do that."
With the game tied at 1-1 after the break, Roma wasted several opportunities to take the lead, including Mirko Vucinic missing an open goal. "We had so many opportunities to go in front and we tried to win," Montella said. "It can happen to anyone to miss easy goals and today it happened to Vucinic but this is not a problem."
Palermo forward Abel Hernandez struck twice in the space of six minutes to hand the Sicilians victory in Rome. "In the second half we pressed forward to go for the win but we didn't do a good job to stop their counter-attacks," Montella said. "We didn't deserve this defeat but football is like this. We were unlucky."
The outcome was Roma's second consecutive home loss after their 2-0 defeat to Juventus and further hindered the Giallorossi's chances of a top-four finish. Roma are in sixth place, four points behind city rivals Lazio, who hold the fourth UEFA Champions League qualifying spot and visit Catania tomorrow.
"Now it becomes more difficult," Montella said. "But in football, anything can happen and we still have five league games left to play. We must look forward even though this defeat hurts a lot because we had played well."
Roma will now focus in Tuesday's Coppa Italia semi-final first leg against Inter Milan.