EDF: ‘Roma happy to face Barcelona’

Eusebio Di Francesco has injury issues against Crotone, but celebrates Roma’s clash with Barcelona. “Many would love to be in our position.”

It kicks off on Sunday at 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.

The Giallorossi are brimming with confidence after three consecutive victories between Serie A and the Champions League, which set up a quarter-final clash with Barcelona.

“We are fired up, feeling good and eager to maintain third place in Serie A, which is the most important thing,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“Diego Perotti has a slight muscular problem and is unavailable, so Stephan El Shaarawy will start against Crotone, while Alessandro Florenzi has recovered from a knock.

“El Shaarawy is in good shape and might be coming off a period where he hasn’t scored or been decisive, but he’ll get back to being the crucial player he was at the start of the season. I hope this is the right game for him to get back on the scoresheet.

“I can also confirm Maxime Gonalons will start in place of Daniele De Rossi. I have three options on the right: Cengiz Under, Patrik Schick and Gerson. I’ll decide tomorrow, once I’ve thought about it overnight.

“Gerson has become more ‘Italian’ in his playing style and can take on various different roles. He’s also in better shape now, as before he used to come off after 60 minutes due to cramp.

“Every game is important and the next one is always the most crucial. I immediately told the lads to ignore the Champions League draw, as our Champions League passes through Crotone.

“People don’t talk about Crotone much, but they achieved a miracle to avoid relegation last season and are tough on their own turf.”

The Spanish media greeted the draw between Barcelona and Roma with undisguised glee. Considering the Giallorossi already beat the odds against Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, does this attitude act as extra motivation?

“We too smiled when the draw was made,” noted Di Francesco.

“The fact we reached the quarter-finals makes us very proud. We’ll be facing the best side in the world and the best player in the world, Leo Messi, with great enthusiasm and the pride of having earned this chance.

“It all has to be taken with a positive attitude, because we welcome the opportunity to play Barcelona. They are happy with the draw and so are we.

“With great humility, we work to prepare for those meetings, but first of all we have to focus on Serie A and maintaining our position so we can play more Champions League games next season. Many teams would love to be in our position.”

Roma squad for Crotone: Alisson, Lobont, Skorupski; Juan Jesus, Kolarov, Capradossi, Fazio, Florenzi, Peres, Silva, Manolas; Nainggolan, Strootman, Pellegrini, Gonalons, Gerson, Valeau; Dzeko, Schick, Under, Antonucci, El Shaarawy

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