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Di Francesco reflects on first leg defeat

Read what coach Eusebio Di Francesco had to say in the wake of Roma's 5-2 defeat against Liverpool on Tuesday night.

The Giallorossi fell to a Champions League semi-final first leg loss at Anfield, despite two late goals from Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti.

"We started well tonight, but then we lost a lot of the duels – especially on balls that were easy to read," Di Francesco said. 

"We lost our heads and our ability to stay in the game a bit."

Do you regret not switching from a back three to a back four earlier?

"We had good balance in the first 20 minutes, but obviously playing systems don’t count for much when you lose every individual battle and 50-50 and you can’t manage to make simple five-yard passes – nothing counts for anything in that case.

"When we brought on fresher players with clearer heads, the team had the strength it needed to react. I’m glad that we responded because it gives us something to play for in the return leg. We have to believe we can do it and show the same attitude we showed in the latter part of tonight’s game."

Can you pull off another epic comeback?

"Of course, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth playing. Anything can happen in football – nothing is impossible. We’ve proved that, but obviously it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a different game to the Barcelona match, but we have the desire to turn it around. It’s no use criticising the team – we’ve achieved something really impressive but for 50 minutes we didn’t have the impact we wanted in the game tonight.

"We have to have the desire to turn it around and it’s important we keep believing until the end – I have total belief. You can’t just give in during a game – especially in this type of competition. Sometimes you take a few hits, but the team wasn’t able to stay in the game and at times we lost a bit of unity. I want to see a team with more determination in the return leg."

Kostas Manolas was bringing the ball out of defence and coming forward a lot tonight – was that something you specifically asked him to do?

"That happened whenever we lost the ball during our build-up play. We let them swamp us too easily on occasion.

"We weren’t on their level tonight – we were lacking a bit of strength and physical presence."

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