The incoming coach and former Giallorossi midfielder made an immediate impact as his side raced into a two goal lead in the first half, courtesy of Romelu Lukaku and Lorenzo Pellegrini.
Verona had a goal chalked off in the second half before Milan Djuric missed a penalty, and made Roma sweat in the latter stages after pulling one back through a long-range Michael Folorunsho effort. Ultimately, the Lupi held on for a first win in four in all competitions.
De Rossi enjoys positive start
After a turbulent week in the capital that saw Jose Mourinho jettisoned and De Rossi given the top job at a club in which he achieved iconic status, victory was crucial and was duly delivered. The Giallorossi displayed the roots of the new coach’s ideas and the attacking build up play was at times a joy to behold.
However, there is plenty for De Rossi to work on and having enjoyed almost complete control in the first half, Roma looked shaky and brittle after the break. Indeed, they were lucky to leave the pitch with all three points and whilst there are question marks over their defence strength, the Lupi’s issues at times looked more psychological than technical.
A fresh start under a new coach may help to address this, as well as the return from suspension of leaders Gianluca Mancini and Bryan Cristante, but for now the focus is on De Rossi and his positive impact.
Pellegrini back on form
Roma’s miserable season has seen a number of players struggle for form, but there were signs that the pressure was being lifted and De Rossi was boosted by positive performances from Pellegrini, Stephan El Shaarawy, and Rick Karsdorp. The captain, in particular, put a chorus of boos during the team announcement behind him with some silky touches and a well-taken goal.
El Shaarawy, meanwhile, lined up in attack alongside Lukaku despite the expectation being that it would be Andrea Belotti up front, and he took his opportunity with both hands.
The Italian international laid on two assists and after spending much of the Mourinho era dropping wide and deep, even at wing-back, provided a reminder of his attacking talent.
Time to move on from Rui Patricio
Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor can De Rossi’s Roma overhaul be, but the coach may be considering his goalkeeping options already. The former Giallorossi captain decided to recall Rui Patricio after the Portuguese keeper was dropped for Mourinho’s final game in charge, but there was little in his performance to suggest he remains a viable long-term option.
The former Sporting CP and Wolverhampton Wanderers man was beaten from range by Folorunsho‘s effort and did not cover himself in glory after yet another costly mistake, leading to more audible frustration from the Olimpico crowd. With Mile Svilar waiting in the wings, Rui Patricio’s time as first choice option may well be numbered.