Roma head coach Jose Mourinho does not believe the Giallorossi are better than last season as he questioned the strength of his team after Venezia heaped more misery on the under-fire Portuguese.
Mourinho – in his first season in the Italian capital – finds himself under mounting pressure following Sunday's shock 3-2 Serie A defeat at promoted Venezia in Venice.
Roma squandered a 2-1 half-time lead as Venezia scored twice within nine second-half minutes to leave Mourinho's men with just one victory from their last seven matches across all competitions.
Mourinho was already scathing of his Roma outfit following last month's 6-1 humbling at Bodo-Glimt in the Europa Conference League.
Former Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter boss Mourinho attempted to curb expectations in Rome, where Roma are sixth in Serie A and 13 points off the pace after signing Tammy Abraham, Eldor Shomurodov, Matias Vina, Rui Patricio, Roger Ibanez and Bryan Reynolds, having lost the likes of Edin Dzeko and Juan Jesus.
"You have your opinion, I have mine," Mourinho told Sky Sport Italia. "As a coach, I have to give some motivation and ambition to the players and myself.
"It's one thing to say we are worthy of fourth place, another to say we want to go for fourth place.
"Until it becomes mathematically impossible, I want to keep saying fourth place is the target. Roma finished sixth or seventh the last few seasons, the club made an effort over the summer, but it was more reactive transfer activity than building.
"I don't think this squad is stronger than last season. We lost a lot of experience, we had to bring in players to replace those who left, many of them lack experience at this level.
"As a coach with a three-year contract, this season can be a painful one for body and soul, but still a very, very important one for me to understand something I couldn't have understood before I arrived. I already know more than I did two months ago."