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    De Rossi: “Exceptional performance. I’m so proud of this team”

    Roma knocked AC Milan out to fly into the Europa League semi-finals once again.

     Find out what Daniele De Rossi had to say after the victory at the Stadio Olimpico.

    It’s impossible to imagine a better way to celebrate today after the news that broke this morning (De Rossi being confirmed as the coach by the ownership).

    “There’s no better way. I was a bit fearful that this fantastic piece of news could overshadow the rest of the day because we had to focus on that and I was worried that tonight’s result could take away from some brilliant news.

    “It turns out we were treated to an exceptional performance by the players. I’m so proud to be their coach because they knew how to do it all. They managed to make a good start and play well. They managed to find space in behind, as shown by the second goal, which was exactly what we were trying to do. They also knew how to dig in just like top sides do. Real Madrid showed us that last night. Top teams have to know how to dig deep when they go down to ten men or when there’s a period in which strong opposition put attacks together.”

    What are you prouder of, the 11 men that took the lead or the ten men who defended so well for over an hour?

    “Both of them because both are elements of top teams and wonderful runs. We can’t intend to put our opponents under pressure for the entire game because we have to be aware that we’re facing super teams, such as a well-drilled AC Milan side, who I think played well across both legs.

    “There were times when we had to dig in. There was also a sending-off that made things more difficult for us after making a strong start. We did, however, manage to play our game. Maybe another goal would’ve put the tie to bed earlier. That’s how it was mentally and it gave us a huge boost. They continued to attack well, but the more time passed, the less strong they seemed to become.”

    Do you want to make any special mentions of any players this evening?

    “It’s not nice to mention players like that. I could mention all of them. The players on the bench were brilliant too. I’ve known [Stephan] El Shaarawy for so many years now and not that this is down to me, but when he was a young lad, he wasn’t this sort of player. He was a huge talent, but he was a bit less of a team player. He was a fantastic footballer, but not very mature given his age. What he did this evening was incredible, both defensively and in attack. He got in behind their defence, he headed balls, he led breaks and created chances. It was remarkable to watch and would’ve made any coach proud.”

    How much strength does qualifying in this manner give you ahead of facing the newly crowned German champions?

    “It does give us strength. When you get through the tie by knocking AC Milan out, it means you’ve done well because you’ve beaten an incredible side. It gives us a confidence boost. We’re facing an unbeaten and seemingly invincible side in the next round.

    “We’ll be ready for it because we only need to prepare for the two ties against them and not the other 50 that they haven’t lost. We’ll try to make it hard for them. I think we’re capable of doing that.”