UEFA Champions League


Coach Eusebio Di Francesco met the media on Monday afternoon, as he previewed Tuesday's Champions League last-16 clash with Porto. The game at the Stadio Olimpico gets underway at 21:00 local time. 

We’ve lacked that. Over 180 minutes, it’s vital that you’re solid – especially given that we’re playing the first leg at home. A good defence is fundamental if you’re going to build a good attack. It’s important that we keep a clean sheet tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean we can lose our identity as a team. We need to defend well, as a team.

Di Francesco spoke about Porto: “I think Porto have some excellent replacements, such as Otavio or Soares. They have different characteristics but are equally strong – they have some important attributes. Regardless of the personnel, Porto are a good side. They’re compact and hard to play against – they know how they want to play. They’ve won more defensive duels than anyone else, which shows that they know exactly how to play as a team. It’ll be a very demanding match from a physical standpoint.

About the injuries he said: "In terms of those that missed the match away at Chievo Verona, Manolas will definitely be back, while Olsen is a doubt until we can evaluate him tomorrow morning. We’ve lost Schick to a muscle injury. None of the other injured players will be back for tomorrow, but we hope to have them back available for Bologna – I’m talking about Perotti and Under.

The Giallorossi's coach spoke also about De Rossi and Nzonzi: “Regardless of the system, the question I have is whether to play them both against Porto. I’m weighing things up – for me, they’re both starters. They’re important players. If Daniele does well in training today he’ll definitely play, but aside from that everything is still to be decided.”

Finally he spoke about Nicolò Zaniolo who could play in midfield or on the right flank: “I don’t know. He could play in either position – he’s already done that – but I don’t want to give clues about the line-up. I have lots of options. It comes down to the match and opposition in question.

(Photo Getty Images)