Paulo Fonseca warns Roma that the Europa League tie with KAA Gent is “wide open” and they must see the knockouts as “a sprint rather than a marathon.”
The first leg ended 1-0 at the Olimpico, so this Round of 32 tie is wide open going to Belgium.
“It’s a very important game and we want to qualify for the next round, but we have to concentrate on what we have to do tomorrow,” said the coach in his press conference.
“We must play with ambition, acting as if the tie is still 0-0. We need to show the same courage we did in our last game, beating Lecce 4-0.
“Let’s not forget that Gent are unbeaten at home this season, they scored in every game here and the tie is still open. We can’t help but see this as a very important match.
“If we just focus on defending, that’s the wrong approach to take. We want to play the way we always do and scoring a goal is even more important in this game. The best form of defence is attack.
“This is a European knockout competition, so it’s a sprint and not a marathon, the tie is decided over just two games. One team goes through, the other goes out. That is why the ties are more open and I enjoy these fixtures more because of that.”
Atalanta impressed in the Champions League and Serie A, beating Valencia 4-1 in the Round of 16, so Fonseca was asked why Roma didn’t play with the same intensity?
“They are different playing styles. Atalanta have been working together for many years, they are a very strong team, but I have a different way of viewing the game. I like Atalanta, but we don’t share the same football ideas.
“Roma are at the start of a process and there are many areas where we need to improve.”
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