Saturday, May 26, 2018

Spalletti backs Roma to stand up to Champions League test

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 4 Aug 2016


Luciano Spalletti has backed Roma to stand up to their Champions League test despite not being seeded for the play-offs.

The Serie A club face a potentially daunting tie against the likes of Manchester City, Porto, Villarreal, Ajax or Borussia Monchengladbach in Friday’s draw for the play-off round.

But speaking after Wednesday’s 2-0 pre-season friendly win at MLS side Montreal Impact, head coach Spalletti said his side do not fear any opponent. 

“It is clear that it would have been better to be top seeds,” he said.

“But if we want to be an elite team then we must be ready to face whichever one of those names is put in front of us – without thinking it would be better to play one team or another.

“Our thinking should be that they are all strong opponents but that we have the ability to progress against any of them. I am convinced that is the case, though they will be tough games.

“I think over the last 10 years teams who have played in the Champions League play-offs have hardly ever won their first league game, a sign that it takes great strength of character. Therefore, we must be at our best to progress.”

Roma were too good for the Impact in front of 20,801 fans at the Stade Saputo, with Edin Dzeko and Radja Nainggolan on target.

Dzeko opened the scoring in the sixth minute before Nainggolan doubled the lead 15 minutes later as Roma concluded their North American tour in Montreal.

“I can say that we are line with what we expected considering the work done so far,” Spalletti added. “There are still some steps to be done, and quickly too, but I am convinced that when we return to Italy we will see the benefit of this work done, the effort made.

“The important thing will be to immediately overcome the difference in time zone once we return to Rome.”


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