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    Spugna: “We must play with courage”


    Alessandro Spugna sat down with the media on Tuesday to discuss Roma's Champions League opener against Bayern Munich.

    This is what the Giallorosse boss had to say ahead of Wednesday's Matchday 1 clash in Germany...


    Roma could hardly have had it worse: drawn in a tough group with Bayern Munich away for starters. Do you think it's a good thing or would a slightly easier group have been better?

    “It's certainly not an easy group! In fact, it's probably the toughest of the four. We know we'll be up against an excellent team, one of the best in Europe, but it's also an opportunity for us to see how we measure up. In any case, we are well aware that we'll be playing a top team.”

    Do you have any selection doubts? Will you change tactics with Zara Kramzar unavailable?

    “Of course I have an idea of the team I'm going to pick but I don't want to give any advantage to a great team like Bayern, so I can't tell you who's going to play.

    “Our aim is to go out there and play our usual game, then we'll see how much attacking and how much defending we get to do. It's sure to be a very difficult game, and one played at a very high tempo.

    “We will miss Kramzar because besides being in excellent form, she offers us extra options during the game. Sadly she's injured and we'll have to do without her. Nonetheless, we have lots of options so it shouldn't be a problem for us.”

    We've seen you implement a soft rotation so far. Will we see a Serie A team and a Champions League team going forward?

    “I've said on previous occasions that I don't like talking about rotation, but rather about the team that plays the match. There will never be one team for the league and another for Europe. There will be a team going out to play with 11 starting and others ready to come on. You can't play matches like this with 11 players; you need lots of players because of the intensity.

    “That's why I say I don't have 11 starters but 23, plus the others who have stayed behind as they're injured. It's always about the team, the group. Tomorrow we'll put out a team that we believe is the best one to take on Bayern, with players ready to come on and make a difference at the right time.”

    How much will last year's experience of playing Wolfsburg twice help you? Do you see any similarities with Bayern?

    “All of our Champions League campaign last season has helped us and part of that was facing Wolfsburg, a German team in some ways similar to Bayern.

    “I think Bayern are a much better team in possession. They're a more technical side but they're also physical like Wolfsburg.

    “Wolfsburg had a more direct approach and were very good at getting in behind the backline. Bayern can do that as well but a lot of the time they opt to keep the ball moving. I remember them having a superb game against Barcelona in the group stage last season.

    “They're a fantastic side with lots of individual talent. But in terms of team play, they're a notch above Wolfsburg.”

    Bayern are very strong defensively and have only conceded three league goals this season. Are you tempted to change something in the way you play or is it more important to maintain your team identity to see how you match up?

    “We must be brave enough to go out there and try to impose our game from the start. Games like this often turn on individual moments or situations that come about during the match. We must be ready to play two different ways: the game we usually play and another which, at certain times of the match, will mean we need to get lots of players behind the ball and play on the counter.

    “We won't go out there with a different game plan but we'll change our plan if that's what we have to do during the match.

    “Courage is the watchword. We must try to play all our group games with real courage, starting tomorrow night.”