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Juan Jesus: We know the challenge, we have to be ready

Defender Juan Jesus has insisted that the Roma squad will be taking nothing for granted when they face Qarabag in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Around 70,000 fans are expected at Baku's Olympic Stadium to see the Azerbaijan champions play at home against the Giallorossi - and, despite the apparent gulf in class on paper, Juan Jesus is under no illusions about the challenge that awaits.

“We know every match is difficult and that includes tomorrow's," Jesus told reporters. "Qarabag got a bad result last time they played in the Champions League so they'll be keen to show that their defeat to Chelsea was just a one-off.

"We must go out there and show what we're about. We've come here to win.”

Playing with a higher defensive line seems to be working well for Roma this season and you look more assured. Was it difficult to make the switch?

“We play with a higher line because we focus on the ball – it's not just about playing the offside trap. We try to stay tighter so that we can regain possession quickly and that makes it harder for us to be hit on the counter. When you focus on the ball, you don't need to be spread out.”

You've played against Qarabag before, when you were at Inter. What do you remember about the game?

“I remember they made it tough for us at San Siro. We got an early goal but only managed to make sure of the win in the second half. Qarabag have improved loads since then, though. They have different players and they're a better team.”

You've made a great start to your second season at Roma. Is it because you've settled in at the club now or because the new coach has shown faith in you?

“It always takes a while to adapt to your new surroundings when you change clubs. I played a lot last season from November on and I think I showed what I'm capable of. Regardless of the coach, it's entirely up to me. I have to work for myself. I've said hundreds of times that hard work pays off and so it's proved so far.”

How did you manage to change people's minds about you?

“It wasn't easy when I first joined Inter either. People judge you based on what they see and if you have two bad games they write you off. I've always just got on with the job. The fans are free to express their views; all I'm interested in is showing people that I'm not afraid of hard work. I'll keep grafting away and let people boo if they want to.”

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