Roma captain Francesco Totti dedicated his match-winning return to action on Monday to injured team-mate Kevin Strootman.
The experienced attacker, who has missed the last month with a thigh strain, opened the scoring against Udinese before playing a part in his side's second and third goals as the Giallorossi ran out 3-2 winners.
Totti celebrated by waving Strootman's No.6 jersey to the crowd, with the Netherlands international set to undergo surgery this week on a torn knee ligament.
"Not playing hurt, but the important thing tonight was to win and maintain our pace at the top," Totti told Sky Sport Italia. "We have Napoli snapping at our heels, but we got the crucial victory.
"It's as if he [Strootman] were here. He is a fundamental player and above all a great guy who settled in straight away.
"He's part of this group and I hope he can recover as soon as possible. He'll certainly be back stronger than ever."
Morgan De Sanctis made a number of impressive saves in Monday's narrow win, with one stop in particular drawing some on-field congratulations from Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale.
"De Sanctis performed some great saves tonight. He has so much experience and directs the defence, so he is a goalkeeper who makes the difference," Totti added.