Shakhtar: ‘Roma a good draw’

Shakhtar Donetsk Coach Paulo Fonseca and CEO Sergei Palkin both claim facing Roma in the Champions League is “a good draw for us.”

The Ukraine club knocked Napoli out in the group phase and will take on another Italian in the Round of 16.

“Roma is not the worst option, given that the possible rivals included Barcelona, PSG and Manchester United. I reсkon this is a good draw for us,” said CEO Palkin on the club’s official website.

“Shakhtar already met with the Romans in the Champions League round of 16 in 2011, and we advanced back then. We’ve got some successful experience with this team, and we should take advantage of that to display the kind of football our fans will enjoy, and to do our best to make it through to the next round.

“It’s worth noting that the Italians advanced from the group being in the top spot, ahead of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. This is a very revealing fact, which confirms the opponents’ high class.

“In addition, Roma currently features a number of strong players such as Radja Nainggolan, Edin Dzeko, the goalkeeper Alisson. These days, those are high-level players.

“We must prepare very and very seriously for the match, especially since that’s one of our team’s opening games next year – immediately after a two-and-a-half-month break.

“It’s necessary for us to be up to the mark both physically and mentally, and not to forget that Roma showcase a very high-quality football, being considered one of the Italian league favourites. We need to take into account all those subtleties, to consider every detail, because there are no minor things in football.”

Coach Fonseca, who famously kept his promise to dress up as Zorro in a post-match Press conference after qualifying for the Round of 16, was also content with Roma.

“All teams at this stage of the tournament are strong. And at the same time, I note that in the Round of 16 we managed to avoid such big clubs as Barcelona and PSG – they would be much more difficult. 

“In any case, I do not consider Roma a weak opponent, but it’s probably more convenient to play with them. We have a rather long winter break ahead of us, but enough time to prepare for the confrontation in the best possible way. 

“Roma are very strong and have excellent players. They won a difficult group with Chelsea and Atletico. We understand that the opponent is worthy and will not be easy. 

“For me Napoli are currently the best team in Italy and we eliminated them. I won’t underestimate Roma, though.”