De Rossi: Roma were too cocky last season

The Italian has admitted the Giallorossi were guilty of overconfidence going into their demoralising 7-1 loss to Bayern Munich last October

Daniele De Rossi says that Roma paid the price for being “too cocky” in last season’s Champions League and is hoping that the lessons learned will help them progress this term.

The Giallorossi kicked off their European campaign with a 5-1 rout of CSKA Moscow and an arguably even more impressive 1-1 draw at the home of then Premier League titleholders Manchester City.

However, Rudi Garcia’s men were then humiliated 7-1 in front of their own fans by Bayern Munich, and never really recovered as they bowed out of the competition at the group stage.

Roma’s mental fragility was also exposed during the second half of the Serie A season as they went from challenging Juventus for the title to battling it out with Lazio for third place, but De Rossi insists they are now stronger from the experience.

“I attended the press conference before the Bayern Munich match and I was optimistic,” the midfielder told Sky Sport on Friday.

“After that game, we all agreed that we had played too open in the match at the Olimpico. We were too cocky and we said we’d play differently in the reverse fixture.

“That experience can help us going forward and perhaps this season we’ll be able to cause problems for teams of that level.”

De Rossi accepts Juventus – despite losing some key players this summer, including Carlos Tevez, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo – will once again start the Serie A season as favourites but believes Serie A will be more competitive in 2015-16.

“Juventus seemed weaker last season in terms of their squad and for many – myself not included – the coach,” he said, alluding to the departure of former Bianconeri boss Antonio Conte.

“Then, they enjoyed a better season than in previous years, winning a fourth straight Scudetto and making the Champions League final. When a team achieves results like these, they rightly start as favourites.

“Similarly, a side that finishes runners-up two seasons in a row are naturally considered the chief challengers.

“The two Milan clubs, AC and Inter, have strengthened a great deal and Lazio will also be a threat again.

“As for Napoli, I’m a fan of coach Maurizio Sarri. He’s joined from a small club but he’s never done a bad job throughout his career and has never betrayed his philosophy.

“At Empoli last season he made life difficult for much stronger teams.

“Let’s see how he does this season with players who, on paper, are better than the ones he coached last year.”

Roma have been relatively quiet this summer, though Mohamed Salah is expected to join the capital club on loan from Chelsea imminently, while Iago Falque – so impressive at Genoa last season – has also been acquired.

“The team is pretty much the same as last year’s,” De Rossi added. “The club is signing players to fill a specific need.

“When you finish second two seasons in a row, it shows you don’t need to make wholesale changes and the fact we haven’t changed too much is a positive.

“We have a strong side, our key players have stayed at the club and this will also help us to push on, as we already know each other and therefore have a greater understanding.”

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