Eusebio Di Francesco admits Roma “made it easy” for Liverpool in the 5-2 defeat, but still “believes totally” in another Champions League comeback.
The Giallorossi were torn to shreds by Mohamed Salah, who provided two goals and two assists, and 5-0 down at Anfield, but Edin Dzeko and a Diego Perotti penalty left some hope.
“We can’t keep talking about the Barcelona game, but if we keep losing duels and don’t track back on balls that we knew were coming and were easy to read, then we lose our heads,” the Coach told Mediaset Premium.
Was the three-man defence ultimately an error that should’ve been changed earlier?
“We had that system in the first 20 minutes, when it was very even, so that wasn’t the issue. We continued to lose every one-on-one situation and give the ball away very cheaply.
“It’s only natural with fresh legs from substitutes that we received a boost and we need that reaction, because we have the second leg and can still turn this around.
“If you don’t believe anything can happen, then you shouldn’t be playing these games. I don’t want to see anyone on trial now, as preparing games on paper is not the same thing and tactics become relative if we can’t keep the ball or make a simple pass.
“Their attacking moves almost all happened when we lost the ball. If they allowed us some three against three moves, it means we have the quality. Our centre-backs were caught when they should’ve turned and blocked. Losing all these duels showed we were a little below Liverpool in terms of physicality and pace.”
Roma lost the first leg of the quarter-final 4-1 to Barcelona and got the 3-0 result they needed at the Olimpico, so are now in exactly the same situation against Liverpool.
“We said before the Barcelona game that we believed totally in our chances and I say the same now. The team today lost its confidence too much and got totally disbanded, but that shouldn’t happen, it doesn’t matter how many setbacks there are or goals conceded.
“We will see a very different Roma in the second leg. If you lose numerous duels around the pitch, you’re going to lose the game. If we got here it’s because we fought and won duels against many very talented players.
“If the opposition has the ball and is preparing a pass, you can’t just stand there and wait for it to come in, especially when it’s an easy enough situation to read. We made it easy for them.”
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