Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco admits his “unpredictable” side need to find some consistency or risk missing out on a Champions League spot this season.
The Giallorossi head to second-placed Napoli this weekend lying seventh in Serie A following a topsy-turvy start to the campaign.
A run of five games without a win in all competitions was immediately followed by an impressive four-match winning streak which saw Roma outscore their opponents 14-1.
That run was ended by last weekend’s shock 2-0 home defeat to struggling SPAL, but Di Francesco’s men bounced back again with a 3-0 Champions League triumph over CSKA Moscow in midweek.
Di Francesco concedes Roma’s inconsistent form probably gives their opponents sleepless nights wondering which side will turn up – but from a personal standpoint, he would prefer things to be a little less erratic.
He told a press conference, as reported by his club’s website: “In my opinion they (opposing teams) are worried because they never know which team they’re going to be up against – one capable of a great performance or one that loses its way after 10 minutes.
“We’re unpredictable, even for me sometimes. We must be consistent. Being unpredictable for our opponents is fine, but we must seek continuity.
“We’ve tripped up at other times and we cannot afford to. You risk not getting into the Champions League if you keep slipping up.”
Roma fans will be hoping it is the side that reached the Champions League semi-finals last year that turns up at the Stadio San Paolo, where hosts Napoli have won 10 of their last 11 competitive matches.
In fact, the last time Napoli were beaten in front of their own fans was in March when Roma recorded a 4-2 victory, and Di Francesco knows a similar result this weekend would be a major fillip for the capital club.
He said: “We have to believe we can close the gap with Napoli and this match is an opportunity to do that.
“We must improve, compete and try to get ahead of them.”
However, he also knows the size of the task facing them against Carlo Ancelotti’s team, adding: “We’re going to have to be on top of our game if we want to leave Naples with a good result.
“They’re an excellent side with players who are used to playing together. They play differently under Ancelotti but they’re just as good as last season.”
Napoli head into the match on the back of a bittersweet Champions League draw with Paris St Germain in midweek.
Earning a point at the home of the big-spending French giants is no mean feat, but Napoli were moments away from a memorable win only to see Angel Di Maria net a brilliant stoppage-time leveller.
Midfielder Allan, whose side are four points behind leaders Juventus in Serie A, said on his club’s website: “It’s a shame we conceded at the end, but the performance was outstanding and we deserved the victory.
“We’ll have to give our all at the San Paolo. It could be the decisive clash and we’re ready to bring all our quality out on to the pitch.”