Monchi: ‘Important night for Roma’

Roma director Monchi knows facing Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League is “an important night” and thinks Cengiz Under is ready.

The first leg of the Round of 16 kicks off in Kharkiv at 19.45 GMT.

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“I’ve never reached a Champions League quarter-final. I think for the growth of the club and confidence in everything we’re doing, this is an important night,” the director of sport told Mediaset Premium.

“We expect to be as strong as possible, to go forward and we know it’ll be difficult, as Shakhtar Donetsk play very good football. The lads are aware we have an important opportunity for our history.”

Monchi was asked if progress in Europe would also affect their contract talks with various players.

“It’s true that economically it’s important to go forward, but contracts and transfers are a different matter. We need to concentrate on the present. Alisson is a great goalkeeper and we are fortunate to have him with us.

“I haven’t seen many differences between Italian and Spanish football. In my view, Italian football is more tactically intelligent, there is a lot more work on those areas, whereas in Spain there is more freedom and less training on tactics.

“There are many similarities, though.”

Cengiz Under is in the starting XI after four goals in three games, but it is also his Champions League debut tonight.

“This work has been done over a long period of time. Even before I arrived, the Roma scouting system was working well and Istanbul Basaksehir did very well in Turkey last season. We saw a player who was in the senior international squad at the age of 19 and decided to go for him.

“We invested in Cengiz Under, knowing full well we’d have to wait for the right time and Coach Eusebio Di Francesco did a great job in that development.”

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