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Need to Know: Di Francesco's key quotes ahead of Barcelona return


Coach Eusebio Di Francesco was at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday afternoon to preview Roma's Champions League quarter-final second leg clash against Barcelona.

Here's what the boss had to say about Tuesday's return clash, as the Giallorossi look to overturn a 4-1 first leg deficit.

On the importance of belief...

“I think we should choose our strongest line-up tomorrow, it’s important and we must believe. Let’s perform with great heart and passion. We have to honour and respect our club colours, so we’ll give it our all and we deserve the chance to achieve something huge.

"Why not believe until the end and hope we can achieve something unprecedented? We’re trailing by three goals, so it’s a really tough ask, but we have the duty to try. So, our best team will start tomorrow and then we’ll think about the derby.”

On the mental approach...

“Mentality is something we build at home, at Trigoria. We often speak about a winning mentality, but we’ve not won much at this club, so historically we haven’t really had one. You create a winning mentality through a sense of belonging, an identity, consistent work and sticking close to your surroundings. These are signs of great progress. People aren’t inspired by rumours but by results.

"We mustn’t fall back on the excuse of the atmosphere around the club, the media and the opinions we hear. We have to look after our own house and thereby change the environment around us. We must think that every game is make-or-break, every game is the match of our lives.”


On injuries...

“Cengiz [Under] might be available, depending on how to reacts to the final session today. He trained with the squad yesterday and we’ll assess his fitness today.

"If he’s fine, he’ll be named in the squad. Perotti is ruled out, but we expect and hope – even if it’s a long shot – to have him back for the derby.”

On Lionel Messi...

“Everyone was saying he wasn’t fit and suddenly he scored a hat-trick on Sunday. This means we managed to limit his movement between the lines. We have to reduce the space around him as much as possible, wherever he pops up on the pitch.”

On Barcelona's record in Europe...

“Barcelona’s strength comes from their mentality, which starts from the youth academy and has been built up over the years. They manage games superbly, using the ball well and making few mistakes.

"We forced them into errors in the first leg, but we didn’t take advantage of it. On the other hand, we paid dearly for our mistakes. We want to control the game but not concede.”