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Luciano Spalletti spoke to reporters after his side’s 2-0 win over Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium.

Released on the club’s official website, the Italian tactician broke down several parts of the game.

“It would have been really hard for me to take had we not won this game. If we show the same spirit as we did tonight we can recreate that buzz which, if transferred to the dressing room and around the club, could make for a great dynamic.”

“We performed well tonight in terms of our spirit and football. We saw that everyone did their bit. We were helped with a bit of luck on [Domenico] Berardi’s penalty. We deserve extra credit for being able to hang in there but the win is the fair result. We’ll be able to work more efficiently with the breathing space this victory affords us. We’ve got a tough run-in with lots of hurdles to get over one at a time.”

What made you throw [Diego] Perotti straight into the starting line-up?

“We tried to adopt a tactical approach that would prevent Sassuolo from thriving in areas where they’re strong. His position allowed us to pack greater numbers in there. In the second half they put us under the cosh in part due to our mistakes. We could have made it 2-0 in the first half but games like these come down to fine margins that go your way like the missed penalty.”

[Mohamed] Salah was in inspired form…

“He’s a great guy who needs enthusiasm and he can take that away from results like these. He scored a cracking goal and deserves credit for that.”

Should Salah make more runs into space high up the pitch?

“A keen eye for what lies behind the defensive line is a trait that all forwards should possess. Tonight I asked him to cover on the flank because their full-backs tend to push up and to give him space on the counter.”

Could Perotti play central midfield in the future?

“Tonight he demonstrated that he can slot into the middle of the park and also push forward to attack the opposition defence. I could have also swapped him with [Miralem] Pjanic. He can pick a pass and he moves the ball well, a South American attribute which makes him very hard to pick up.”

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