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Oct 1, 2012

Roma chief defends Zeman, blasts players

Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini slammed the Giallorossi players after their heavy loss to Juventus, declaring that many of them "don't deserve to wear the shirt".

• Juventus 4-1 Roma
• Blog: Roma's tactical suicide

After a week of mudslinging between the clubs leading up to the game - caused by a long-standing feud between outspoken Roma coach Zdenek Zeman and Juve - it was the reigning Italian champions who rose above the barbs to record a convincing 4-1 victory.

Juve were three goals ahead inside the opening twenty minutes and eased to a comfortable win to silence Zeman, who is hate figure at the Turin club for levelling accusations of doping at them in the 1990s.

However, the veteran Czech coach was not to blame for the defeat according to Sabbatini, who felt the players failed their manager and the fans.

Sabbatini told MediaSet: "Many players don't deserve to wear the shirt, we have to immediately change trajectory. Immediately.

"In the space of a few minutes we suffered two upper-cuts, then the team just disappeared. We ask our players to react. Let us not get discouraged, this team is competitive and we know that we can play with anyone. We just have to learn from this defeat and change tack."

Sabbatini offered support for Zeman, brushing off complaints that it was his fault for the manner of the defeat.

"I refer to a squad that is midway through the process and still trying to absorb certain concepts," he said. "We are not yet gelled as a team, but must face every game with a different spirit. Right now it is evident that we're behind schedule.

"Roma need to step on to the pitch with the right attitude and motivation. We emerge from this evening with great suffering, but have to find a solution."

Those sentiments were echoed by former Giallorossi president Rosella Sensi as she applauded the decision to appoint Zeman but also criticised the quality of players brought in this summer.

Speaking to Stadio Sprint, she said: "Signing Zeman this summer was certainly a courageous choice by the club and I have to compliment the directors.

"However, it must be said that some of the players they brought in, especially the youngsters, are not exactly suited to his style of football. I have a lot of faith in Zeman and the team, even after last night's ugly defeat to Juventus."

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