UEFA Europa League


Roma's coach Paulo Fonseca spoke in his pre-match press conference on the eve of the Europa League last-32 tie with Gent. Thursday's first leg at the Stadio Olimpico gets underway at 21:00 local time.

We're up against a very good team but we've worked well this week. The lads look better and they're ready for this match.”

I have a good relationship with the players and always have. It's easy to make up stories about the dressing room now – problems between the players, coach and club. I think that's unfair. We're going about our jobs honestly and speak to each other openly, without trying to hide anything. We always talk about the problems we have. It's not right to make up stories like this. It's all too easy to write stuff like that about Roma at the moment.”

On Pellegrini: “We don't want to give the players excuses. It's true that Pellegrini had an injury and he still feels it at times but I've spoken to him and there's no problem there. It's more to do with this spell we're going through as a team: I think Lorenzo somehow feels more responsible for this situation. He needs to maintain perspective and not rush things; he doesn't need to show how desperate he is to turn things around."

On Diawara: “We're very optimistic about him. He started training with us again two days ago. He's looking good and hopefully he'll keep improving every day. I spoke to him after training and he told me he's much better and doesn't feel any pain anymore. That's great news for us at the moment. We'll see how he gets on in the coming days but after the first days working with the team we feel very positive.”

Abou the chance to qualify for next year's Champions League: “I think we have two possibilities. Not many people think we can qualify via the league but we still believe it's possible. Right now the most important thing is that we get back to playing the way we were before, without adding any sort of pressure.. We can't think about winning something unless we first get back to being the team we were. That's what we must do now – regain our swagger and believe we can beat teams. The most important thing is we feel confident about winning the difficult game we have to play tomorrow.”

About last two Serie A TIM matches: “It's not easy to play against a team like Atalanta. We messed up the dead balls but those were small details. Tactically we did well. I don't remember other teams limiting Atalanta to so few chances. Defensively we were good. Attacking-wise we played differently to other games. You can't expect to play a quick passing game with lots of little layoffs against Atalanta. As for Bologna, we've understood what went wrong there and it wasn't a tactical problem.

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