UEFA Europa League

FONSECA: WE'RE PROUD OF THIS ACHIEVEMENT

Roma drew 1-1 on the night to run out 3-2 winners on aggregate against Ajax - booking a semi-final meeting with Manchester United in the process.

Here's what Fonseca had to say after Thursday's Europa League success.

Was this almost the perfect game?

“Yes, we played well – especially defensively. We had more trouble in the game in Amsterdam. Today we always contained the Ajax attack – and they are a great side.”

Are Roma – and you – proud to be the last team representing Italy in Europe this year?

“Absolutely. I had never reached a European semi-final before. It’s something to be proud and satisfied with. And that’s true for Roma as well. We are all pleased tonight.”

Are you happier just to be in the semi-finals, or with the way the team fought in the hardest moments tonight?

“I’m happy for both of those reasons. As I said, Ajax are a really good side. They have a lot of quality going forward and they are difficult to go up against. We played somewhat pragmatically, knowing that we had a lead from the first leg. We managed the second leg well based on that.”

Does reaching the semi-final change things between you and Roma going forward?

“It doesn’t change things.”

Will you still be the coach next season?

“I don’t know. I know that I will be the coach of the next game. Right now the future isn’t important: as I’ve kept saying, the important thing is Roma. I am not worried in the slightest about my future.”

How close are the ownership to the team?

“As close as they have always been. The chairman is always very close to the squad. He has been since the very first day.”

Bryan Cristante is an example of the growth of this team – your goal tonight came from the fact he passed the ball out from the back rather than cleared it hastily.

“Yes, that was one example of where we played out from the back. Bryan is very good on the ball and he made the right decision there. The first phase of build-up is always important. We passed out well and then [Riccardo] Calafiori made the right decisions and we got the goal. Bryan is good in this regard, when under pressure. It’s harder to do that with a natural centre-back.”

Edin Dzeko seems to be back and even more fired up after his tough period.

“Yes, Dzeko is very motivated. He’s playing well, he’s working hard for the team. Everything is going well right now.”

(Photo Getty Images)

www.asroma.com



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