UEFA Champions League


Eusebio Di Francesco spoke in the post-match press conference after Roma's 2-1 win over Porto on Tuesday night. The Giallorossi grabbed a first-leg advantage in their last-16 tie thanks to Nicolo Zaniolo's brace.

I congratulated the lads for their attitude and focus at both ends of the pitch. We were really solid. We knew what we wanted to do and we struck at the right time. We fashioned lots of openings to hurt our opponents and gave very little away. It's a shame about the goal we conceded because it wasn't really a mistake of ours, although we may have dropped off too early and opened ourselves up. It was a good all-round performance."

Nicolo Zaniolo was the man of the match: “We have to let him develop at his own pace and he needs to remain level-headed, as he is on the pitch. After his first goal I told him to use his head. He did that and scored the second by playing smart. He played in a position he's not used to but he performed really well. We have a great player and we knew that. We're happy to have him and he deserves the praise.

The central midfielders Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini were the key of the match: “I've played both of them in more attacking roles before but what they do best in 4-3-3 is they know when to close down at the right time. When we won the ball back we were very dangerous. We also kept things tight between the lines because Porto were looking to play through balls. I played in that position my whole career – it's tiring but it allows you to express yourself well going forward too.

On March 6th the Giallorossi will play at the Estadio Do Dragao for the second leg of the Last 16 Champions League: “We won't go there looking to hold onto the result – that would be a huge error. We'll set out to score. Games are always open and we saw that today as a goal came from the smallest of things. Before the match I told the lads we needed to keep things very tight but that you need to take risks too. That's crucial.

(Photo Getty Images)