UEFA Europa League


See what coach Luciano Spalletti had to say in the wake of Roma's 4-2 defeat against Olympique Lyon on Thursday evening. The Giallorossi led 2-1 at half-time thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and Federico Fazio, but were ultimately condemned to defeat after a strong second half response from the home side. Roma must now win by two goals in the second leg at the Stadio Olimpico next Thursday if they are to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

“They are team with quality, flair and show no mercy ," Spalletti said. "We needed to win the ball off them, to stop them creating openings between the lines. They have the quality to shoot from outside the box.”

Were there certain battles where you lacked a bit of ruthlessness?

“When things go well for us we come out of our shells and express ourselves, but when things go the other way we are players that are very clean in nature.”

You spoke about a key run of games, are you starting to feel that now?

“I expected more from us in terms of quality, because when we show what we’re capable of out on the pitch, we’re able to compensate for any shortcomings, but when we don’t everything is a bit more difficult.”

You often left too much space for your opponents to shoot:

“But on the other hand we had the quality to score more goals and there were chances to kill the game. Both sides had as many chances as each other, perhaps we had even more. We made mistakes where we shouldn’t have, but there were a lot of good opportunities.”

What will the return leg be like?

“I’m expecting a tough game, because they are a good side when the game is open. Today we didn’t give up too much space, but we needed to get more bodies in midfield.”

Perhaps you need to slow things down sometimes with possession?

“We needed to do that at the start of the second half. Then we conceded with two more players in our defensive line. It then became a game where we did keep good possession in certain situations, but we weren’t decisive enough when in the attacking third, we weren’t able to create great openings and we weren’t ruthless enough at times in their box. We could have scored more. We didn’t stay compact as a team. We got a tad stretched and they were very good at hitting back at us. It’s true that keeping control makes things more comfortable, but during a game – over 90 minutes – you do lose yards. The team didn’t do too badly, in my opinion, but we didn’t manage to take key chances that we created. It’s a result that is tough to overturn.”

Roma are still going on three fronts but things have got worse over the last three games. Is there something that links these defeats?

“I think we can overturn some situations. We need to put a few things right and talk to each other clearly and in detail. We can do more. We can’t just say that we’re mature and strong – we need to dig deep and give something more.”

(Photo LaPresse)