Read what he had to say...
How do you feel? How do you rate Roma's chances?
“I have very good feelings, if nothing else because of what we have to look forward to. It's a huge match on a stage which at the start of the season we hoped to reach but didn't know if we could actually manage it in our maiden Champions League campaign. We had to take things one step at a time. Now we're here and we're going to play this quarter-final against a great team. I don't know what our chances are. We'll certainly go out there and try to play our usual game as best we can to make it enjoyable to watch for all the fans who will be coming – 35,000, I'm told. It will be an event and a fantastic experience for us in any case. Another step forward for the game in Italy and for our own development both individually and as a team.”
Was there a moment when things changed for you in this European campaign?
“We've always taken things one game at a time. Clearly the match against Wolfsburg made us realise we could achieve something because we performed really well against one of the best teams in the tournament, a side put together to challenge for the final. The day after that game, we said to ourselves that if we could play like that we should try and see how far we can go.”
Let's take some of the pressure off you: Barcelona have scored 98 goals, conceded five and got 10 points more than Real Madrid in their domestic league, and in the Champions League they've only let in six. Do they have any weaknesses?
“It's right that there should be pressure and we like it because you get pressure when there's an important match to play. Tomorrow is a very important match so we want the pressure. Those figures are phenomenal, though. I've seen lots of Barcelona games since the draw and before then too because they're a team I enjoy watching and learning from. And the more I watched them, the more I struggled to find any weaknesses. Having said that, you will get chances against them. Looking at those numbers, you can't deny they give away very few chances, but as I said we have to try to play our own game and see what happens. It's an opportunity for us to see where we're at and what we're capable of doing in a match as difficult as this.”
Vicky Losada probably knows your opponents better than anyone. How is she? Do you think she's ready to have an impact and who could play instead of her?
“I'm not going to give away all our ideas before the game! Vicky is getting better by the day. When she joined, we said straight away that she would need time to find her fitness because she'd had a few problems. There's nothing to say from a pure talent perspective. She still needs time to get back to her best but she's working really well and she's settled in brilliantly. When she's played, she's done very well and always made a big contribution. We'll see how involved she will be tomorrow.”
Barcelona conceded goals in all their away games in Europe. Have you found any inspiration for tomorrow looking at those games?
“As I said before, they're an incredible team but every team will give you some chances - as they have in some of their games. We have to make sure we go out there totally determined, stick to our game plan and make the most of whatever chances they give us. They've always conceded on the road – that much is a fact. But we have to focus on our own game and our own qualities. We'll need to be humble too because in Serie A we tend to have a lot more possession than our opponents but Barcelona probably won't afford us that luxury tomorrow. We'll have to try to keep the ball as much as possible because in doing so we'll make it tough for them too. We mustn't be afraid of playing one of the best teams in Europe but we must remember that we're playing one of the best teams in Europe. The two things are different.”
One thing you could certainly achieve tomorrow is convincing the fans who usually fill the Tre Fontane, with 35,000 expected at the Olimpico. How will you try to do that?
“It is a great achievement for us: to play a Champions League quarter-final here, at the Olimpico, in front of 35,000 fans, trying to show we can hold our own in this competition and maybe bring even more fans to the Tre Fontane for the remainder of the season. However, more importantly we have a match to play and we want to achieve something in the match itself by winning it. If Barcelona are better than us on the day and they win, so be it. But our focus has to be on the match. This is what we've been working for – to be able to play this game as best we possibly can. If we do that, I'm sure we'll encourage even more fans to support us.”
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