UEFA Champions League


Eusebio Di Francesco admitted his side paid the price for being too imprecise in possession, as they lost 4-1 against Barcelona on Wednesday night. The Giallorossi left themselves with a second leg mountain to climb after the loss at the Camp Nou, with Edin Dzeko's away goal the only positive note as a pair of own goals and strikes from Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez helped the hosts to victory.

“We had the right approach and showed plenty of desire but we gifted them two own goals then handed the ball on a plate for Luis Suarez. We shot ourselves in the foot so we can't blame it all on other people. I can't fault my players for their character or desire. We were 3-0 down before I even realised. I asked my players to hold their shape, even if we found ourselves two goals down, but we didn't read the game well enough. We've got the experience but we came up a touch short tonight.”

Roma didn't seem afraid of their opponents but didn't always make the right choices either:
“I think the result is unfair on us given the way we played against a team like this. We scored an incredible own goal – Daniele De Rossi's – and made mistakes in our own area. We made a game of it but were too slow in dropping off and reading certain situations. Ultimately, we needed to score when we had the chance to do so, like through [Diego] Perotti at the start of the second half or when we won the ball off their keeper. We needed to be more clinical because Barcelona are unforgiving.”

Roma deserve credit nonetheless for staying so compact and holding a high line against a team like Barcelona. How hard was it to prepare for the game that way?
“At least we get a bit of credit after conceding four goals... If Barcelona were afforded fewer opportunities, it was partly down to the way we played. We were unlucky with the first goal but too hurried and imprecise with our final ball – you have to take your chances against Barcelona. You know you can always concede against them but you have to take your own chances when they come your way.”

If you were to play this game again, what would you do differently?
“The players who started the game did well and so did our substitutes, [Stephan] El Shaarawy, [Gregoire] Defrel and [Maxime] Gonalons. Max played well, regardless of his mistake on the fourth goal. We were good in the first half and set out to score after the break with focus and determination. We managed to win the ball back but our decision-making let us down. And people always go on about how good our goalkeeper is but their goalie saved all our efforts tonight.”

(Photo LaPresse)