Monchi: ‘Roma won’t change for Barca’

Roma director Monchi concedes Barcelona are Champions League favourites, but Roma “have our own qualities and philosophy.”

The first leg of their quarter-final is at Camp Nou on Wednesday evening.

“Barcelona are the favourites in every tournament they take part in. They have both the ability and the duty to be favourites,” Monchi told Spanish paper Sport.

“I do think it’s a different Barcelona to last season, not necessarily better or worse, but different. They have qualities we all know on an individual level and collectively that make them very hard to beat.

“Roma must go into this game knowing clearly what the capabilities of the opponent are and try to contrast them. Above all, we must approach it as Roma, because we have our own qualities and philosophy. We’ve no intention of just abandoning them.”

Playing at Camp Nou is difficult for several reasons, including the sheer size and width of the pitch. Can that be an issue for Roma?

“It’s Barcelona who make the pitch big, because they force you to run so much. However, if you can use playing at Camp Nou as motivation, knowing it’s the biggest stage with all eyes on you, it can push you on.”

The Giallorossi have been a huge surprise in the tournament so far, finishing top of the group ahead of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, while eliminating Shakhtar Donetsk to reach their first Champions League quarter-final in a decade.

“This team is well-respected in the industry. At times not knowing a League or a team very well can lead to underestimating a side, but when it comes to professionals – and I am not talking about the media, here – Roma are considered a quality side who deservedly made their name in European football.”

Monchi has always been a marvellous talent scout and reunited with former Sevilla players Diego Perotti and Federico Fazio.

“I’ve known them for a long time. I’m happy that both have found a club where everything they’ve done in their careers can be recognised. They are the present and future of Roma. I hope they go to the World Cup with Argentina, because they deserve it.”

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