UEFA Champions League


Coach Eusebio Di Francesco faced the media to preview Roma's Champions League clash against Qarabag FK. The game, held at Baku's Olympic Stadium, gets underway at 20:00 local time (18:00 CEST). Read everything the boss had to say about the contest below.

"Some players obviously have a lot more experience than others but I coach all my players the same way – to get them ready for the match," Di Francesco began. "With all the games we're playing at the moment we need to get everyone involved but the squad we've got here has been put together so that I have players ready to do the business in every single match. And tomorrow is an important match. We must show Qarabag the respect they and their history deserve. I can assure you it will be no easy game.”

Did you expect Stephan El Shaarawy to hit the ground running?
“He didn't go straight into the starting line-up because he needed to improve his fitness levels. He's looked really good lately though and I brought him in when I thought the time was right. The position he plays in is very demanding and that's why I often switch my wingers around. Everyone will get the chance to play. Stephan is one of our first-choice players and one of the best suited to the sort of football I want to play.”

Will you rest Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov for this one since that they've played them all so far and considering that you have to play AC Milan away on Sunday?
“Every game is tricky. Clearly we're better than Qarabag from a technical point of view but in games like this you have to play with grit and determination, and show how hungry you are to win it. For that reason, both Edin and Aleksandar will start tomorrow.”

Will you make another five changes to the starting line-up?
“I don't know if I'll make five or six – it's not even something I look at. I believe there are certain positions where you need to rotate and that's what we'll do again for this game.”

What do you think of Mahir Madatov? Will you be keeping a close eye on him tomorrow?
“He's a very talented player. He's skilful and he's scored lots of superb goals from long range. The main reason I've come here is to win but of course Qarabag have some fine players who are capable of hurting opponents.”

Gregoire Defrel has started the last three games on the bench. Is he back-up for Dzeko now or could he still be used out wide?
“He could play out wide again. When I've made different choices it's because of the type of game we had to play but he could certainly play there again. I see my players in training and I go with my gut instinct. I know him very well and if I leave him out it's because in certain games I'm looking for something different.”

(Photo LaPresse)