Thorup: ‘Tough moment for Roma’

KAA Gent coach Jess Thorup believes “Roma are among the strongest teams in Europe, even though they are going through a difficult moment.”

The first leg of the Europa League Round of 32 kicks off on Thursday at 20.00 GMT at the Stadio Olimpico.

“Playing in the Europa League is special for everyone,” said Thorup in his press conference.

“Roma are among the strongest teams in Europe, even though they are going through a difficult moment right now. It’ll be important to get an away goal, it won’t be easy to keep a clean sheet, but we must do what we do best: go on the attack, score goals and make a dream come true that nobody is expecting.

“We have an attacking mentality, that is our main strength. We’re aware that we are away from home and will probably have the minority of possession, so remaining solid and working as a unit is essential.

“Sometimes you can learn from mistakes and I feel we did that after losing the Belgian Cup Final in May. We became more of a team after that.”

Gent are unbeaten in the Europa League so far this season, earning three wins and as many draws in the group stage, beating Saint-Etienne and Wolfsburg.

“Naturally, I was in the stands to watch Roma’s last game against Atalanta. Looking at the individual talents, you can see why they are one of the best teams in Europe. Naturally, when you lose a few matches, the confidence starts to go.

“I am glad that people have faith in us and we believe qualification is possible, otherwise we wouldn’t even have made the journey. On paper, we shouldn’t have a chance, but football is not played on paper.”

Striker Laurent Depoitre is in the Gent squad, but Thorup would not be drawn on whether he will start tomorrow.

“He hasn’t played a full game for three weeks, so it’s one thing to be ready physically and another mentally. We’ll decide tomorrow if he’ll be in the starting XI, on the bench or in the stands.”

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