Results on Wednesday ensured that the Giallorossi will not be seeded for Friday’s draw, meaning they could be drawn against the likes of Manchester City, Villarreal and Porto. Luciano Spalletti, speaking after Wednesday’s 2-0 friendly win over the Montreal Impact, acknowledged that it would have been an advantage to be seeded – but believes the Giallorossi will be strong opposition for whichever team they might face.
“It is clear that it would have been better to be top seeds,” Spalletti said. “But if we want to be an elite team then we must be ready to face whichever one of those names is put in front of us – without thinking it would be better to play one team or another. Our thinking should be that they are all strong opponents but that we have the ability to progress against any of them. I am convinced that is the case, though they will be tough games. I think over the last 10 years teams who have played in the Champions League playoffs have hardly ever won their first league game, a sign that it takes great strength of character. Therefore, we must be at our best to progress.”
The Italian was asked to assess Roma’s pre-season so far, a campaign that has seen then beat Liverpool and Montreal Impact over the course of three days: “I can say that we are line with what we expected considering the work done so far,” he noted. “There are still some steps to be done, and quickly too, but I am convinced that when we return to Italy we will see the benefit of this work done, the effort made. The important thing will be to immediately overcome the difference in time zone once we return to Rome.”
The boss was also asked for his thoughts on the Impact, after an exciting game inside a sold-out Stade Saputo: “I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the ground, full of happy and smiling people,” he said. “The city is also beautiful. Congratulations to the team and its president Mr. Saputo – my best wishes to them as they chase their targets. Besides Drogba, I saw an interesting young team and I think this is a sign that they are progressing in the right way.”