Gandini: Barca a dream, Totti…

Umberto Gandini is relishing Roma’s ‘dream’ Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona and reveals Francesco Totti is learning quickly as a director.

Roma have been drawn Barca in the last eight of Europe’s elite club competition, while Totti is coming to the end of his first season as right-hand man to sporting director Monchi.

“Barca? It’s a great source of satisfaction for us,” he told Radio Anch’io Sport.

“We’ve reached an important target, which this club hadn’t reached for years. Barcelona? We’ll play a match that many can only dream of.

“It’ll be an exhilarating and tough challenge, but nothing’s certain in football. We’ll use our weapons and the advantage of having a free mind.

“The first leg will be crucial. We’ll try to score at Camp Nou, aware however that we’ll face a player like Messi, who can change games whenever he wants.

“Qualification for the knockout stages took a bit out of us mentally, and we paid for the winter break.

“It’s a shame that we lost ground on the top two, who are going at a mad pace. New stadium? The bureaucratic process is still ongoing, but we hope to lay the first brick before the end of 2018.

“Totti? He’s central to the new project, he’s living through a delicate and important transition from the field to the desk, but he’s learning the secrets of his new profession.

“Schick? He came in after a difficult summer due to injuries and a lack of preparation. It hasn’t been a good season for him, but the Coach has kept him in contention.”

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Zenga: ‘Fight until the end’

Walter Zenga knows his Crotone players face a ‘fight to the end’ if they are to retain their Serie A status.

The Pitagorici suffered a 2-0 home defeat by Champions League chasing Roma this afternoon, a result that leaves them in the relegation zone.

“We had quite a few goalscoring chances and we didn’t manage to get it in,” Zenga said of today’s loss.

“This comes from a ruthlessness that we need to have a great amount of.

“In the first half it was a very balanced game. We didn’t suffer and we weren’t beaten. We played our football.”

The result leaves Crotone in 18th place, a point shy of closest rivals SPAL having played a game less.

However, Zenga sees no cause for concern just yet.

“We still have a game in hand. There’s no situation that should create any worry.

“Football is great because every Sunday gives you a chance to grow. We still have some games in front of us, we know we’ll have to fight right until the end.”

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Di Francesco: ‘Roma patient’

Eusebio Di Francesco praised Roma for their patience and cool heads to break down Crotone, but wants more “fun playing football.”

The Giallorossi registered their third consecutive Serie A victory with a 2-0 result at the Stadio Scida, thanks to Stephan El Shaarawy and Radja Nainggolan.

“The team is growing and improving,” the Coach told Mediaset Premium.

“We put in a good first half performance, as Crotone were closing up and allowed us a lot of possession, so we just needed to be patient and find a way through by moving the ball well down the flanks.

“In the second half, we were making life difficult for ourselves and the windy conditions didn’t help with our passing game, but in the end we were able to get a second goal.

“When you want to play the ball to feet, there are always a few risks. I expect more consistency during the match, as we made too many futile horizontal passes that allowed our opponents to be more aggressive.

“I have to make sure this team can play free from pressure and with the desire to have fun with its football. If you don’t step on to the field ready to just play football, you will struggle against anyone.”

Alisson performed some more key saves when Crotone took advantage of defensive errors.

“He is one of the three best goalkeepers in the world and I am happy to have him. We let him rest against Shakhtar Donetsk, but had to give him a couple of saves to make today, otherwise he gets bored!”

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Roma march on past Crotone

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Lazio-Roma and Milan-Napoli moved

The Rome Derby between Roma and Lazio has been moved to an evening kick-off, while Juventus-Sampdoria and Milan-Napoli are also switched.

The Lega Serie A announced the changes to the upcoming fixture list, including the Milan-Inter Derby della Madonnina on April 4 at 17.30 UK time.

Due to Champions League and Europa League commitments, there are also several changes to the Week 32 fixtures for Sunday April 15.

Lazio-Roma had originally been due to kick off at 17.00, but has now been moved to 19.45 UK time.

Milan-Napoli was the evening match, but is now taking place at 14.00 UK time.

Juventus-Sampdoria is also moved from 14.00 to 17.00 UK time.

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