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Roma manager Daniele De Rossi blasted Romelu Lukaku and team-mate Leandro Paredes as ‘truly stupid’ for their misbehaviour during a 4-0 win over Cagliari.
Lukaku had to be separated from Yerry Mina after going forehead to forehead and Paredes was later booked for a clash with Nahitan Nandez.
Roma made it three straight wins under club legend De Rossi, who replaced Jose Mourinho in the dugout in January.
While a famously bad-tempered player himself, he emphasised the need for his players to keep their cool – even when running away with a game.
He said: ‘Look, I like it when players try to defend their team-mates, but when leading 4-0 they need to be intelligent.
Daniele De Rossi branded Romelu Lukaku and team-mate Leandro Paredes ‘truly stupid’
Lukaku locked foreheads with Yerry Mina and De Rossi shouted at him from the touchline
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‘We need to clamp down on this sort of behaviour, because getting booked when you are 4-0 up is truly stupid. We cannot afford to lose any of these players.’
De Rossi wasn’t strictly faithful to his own advice, kicking and throwing water bottles in a hot-tempered reaction to Paredes’ misdemeanours.
Lorenzo Pellegrini put Roma ahead inside two minutes before Paulo Dybala doubled their lead mid-way through the first half.
Dybala extended their lead from the penalty spot after the break before 18-year-old Dean Hujisen, on loan from Juventus, scored his first Serie A goal to wrap up the win.
Lukaku and Mina fronted up to each other 19 minutes into the game after a disagreement and the referee had to intervene to pull them apart.
Roma are resurgent under De Rossi, having climbed from ninth to fifth in the table with three wins.
Prior to his arrival, they had only won one game in their previous five in all competitions under Mourinho, who had discipline issues himself.
‘The Special One’ managed to be red-carded five times this season alone before facing the sack from a frustrated Roma board.
Roma have picked up 55 yellow cards in Serie A this season. Only Lecce (59) and Lazio (57) have more, while Juventus have also accumulated 55.
Leandro Paredes (in air, right) received his 12th booking of the season for an ill-disciplined Roma side
Their disciplinary issues have held them back. In a derby with Lazio in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, they had two players sent off in stoppage time as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat.
De Rossi has tried to install more order, even shouting ‘there’s no need to react’ to Lukaku against Cagliari when he was squaring up to Mina.
Cagliari remain 18th under promotion-winning manager Claudio Ranieri.