After Roma’s big first leg victory at the Olimpico over Porto, there was plenty of reaction from the players and manager. Of course, Nicolò Zaniolo was on everyone’s mind, but everyone involved had plenty more to say about the Giallorossi’s thrilling victory. Meanwhile, there was a bit of a different reaction from Porto’s side, which is to be expected after a close loss. Read on to see some post-match quotes from the players and managers.
Eusebio Di Francesco had plenty to say after his side continued it’s impressive run of form in Europe during his tenure. Below are some of the highlights from his full interview that can be found here.
- On the squad’s overall performance:
“It was a good all-round performance. We made a few small mistakes but that can happen, especially after the spell we’ve been through. It’s disappointing because we deserved to win by two goals but I’m very happy with what was a top performance.”
- On Zaniolo’s performance and rising stardom:
“We have to let him develop at his own pace and he needs to remain level-headed, as he is on the pitch. After his first goal I told him to use his head. He did that and scored the second by playing smart. He played in a position he’s not used to but he performed really well. We have a great player and we knew that. We’re happy to have him and he deserves the praise.”
- When asked if this is a turning point after Roma’s struggles”
“Sometimes this is how you improve. After failure, you rise again.”
- On the performances of his mezz’ale, Pellegrini and Cristante:
“I’ve played both of them in more attacking roles before but what they do best in 4-3-3 is they know when to close down at the right time. “
- On how Roma will approach the second leg:
“We won’t go there looking to hold onto the result – that would be a huge error. We’ll set out to score.”
- Pallotta praised the team’s performance against a “very, very good, strong team”:
“I think yesterday’s game was interesting. Unfortunately they did get that [away] goal... I thought we played pretty well as a team – actually very well as a team – and we had some other good scoring chances.”
- Pallotta who clamored for VAR during last season’s edition of the Champions League spoke on the non-call against a potential Pepe handball:
“I mean, I’ve given up on VAR. You know ... I think it has been a little frustrating.”
- Pallotta was asked if he would be attending the second leg:
“I’m not sure if I’m going [yet]. I do like our position...”
Captain Daniele De Rossi, whose presence in the midfield helped organize Roma remain compact and defend as a unit, spoke on the disappointment of giving up an away goal,
“There are some regrets about their goal, because we were compact and organised as a team for much of the game – giving them little or nothing – and then we give up a goal like that, from a long ball over the top.”
- On the importance of going into Porto with the right mindset:
No-one knows better than us that 2-1 is not a result you can relax with, but it is still a good result.
- On Porto’s physicality:
“They play a bit more physically and vertically than in the past, when Lopetegui or Nuno was the coach. They are strong and physical, a bit different to a normal Portuguese side. But we expected that and weren’t caught out.”
- De Rossi, like most observers had plenty of praise to heap on Zaniolo after his impressive performance:
“He has an incredible natural physique for someone who is only 19 and also has great technical quality. In my opinion, as perhaps with everyone now, he is already a very good player – and can become a great one.”
The star man himself, Zaniolo, shared his thoughts after an ‘incredible night”.
Celebrating under the curva is an extraordinary feeling, I can’t describe it. I hope to score many more goals under this curva
On the opposite sideline, Porto Manager Sergio Conceicao spoke confidently despite his side’s loss.
- Conceicao spoke on what his team did well until Roma was able to find the opening goal:
“My team managed to neutralise Roma’s strengths in the first half. We came close to scoring with Danilo’s header after the break and were in control with our best period of the game when Roma scored in fairly chaotic circumstances.”
- Conceicao also praised his team’s fighting spirit despite falling behind two goals:
“Then we conceded the second goal off a ricochet, but did not stop fighting and the team reacted precisely the way I expected. This side has character and this was only the first half of the tie.”
- After stating his opinion that the “fair result” at the Olimpico would’ve been a draw, Conceicao made a prediction for how the rest of the tie would play out.
We need to make some adjustments, but I am convinced we’ll go through to the quarter-final
Meanwhile, veteran shot stopper echoed his manager’s sentiments post match.
“I believe we did justice to our performance with that away goal and that means the tie is still open. Although Roma aren’t in the top four in Serie A right now, they do have great players, so we knew it’d be difficult.”
- Like his manager, Casillas sees his side progressing after the second leg in Portugal.
“We believe that we can control the second leg and go through.”