UEL: Roma coach De Rossi fearful of Leverkusen ahead of semi-final tie

UEL: Roma coach De Rossi fearful of Leverkusen ahead of semi-final tie

AS Roma manager Danielle De Rossi has admitted that he is fearful of Bayer Leverkusen ahead of their UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg at Stadio Olimpico on Thursday night.

The pharmaceutical-backed club won their first-ever Bundesliga title under the watch of coach Xabi Alonso and remain unbeaten in all competitions this season.

Roma themselves have been impressive since De Rossi took over from Jose Mourinho, losing just three times in all competitions since January and has seen them in hunt for the top four in Serie A.

De Rossi however highlighted some of the reasons why his team are afraid of Leverkusen.

“There’s everything to fear. The way they play, they have a long streak of results. I respect their coach a lot. They have more work behind them with the same coach. There’s a lot to fear. One thing to respect is that are unbeaten despite often going behind,” he said ahead of the game.

“In addition to being strong and playing well, they have awareness and tenacity even until the final minutes. It’s one more thing that I fear and respect about them, but there are many things about us sometimes in the final minutes we score but it also depends on our mental and physical strength.

“We too often score at the end, and we are in it until the last minutes, otherwise we don’t score in Udinese, in Napoli, we don’t save a goal in the 95th minute. Ditto in Florence. Ours is a team that believes and has heart. From this point of view, we are similar.”

Roma were ironically the last team to defeat Leverkusen, also in last season’s Europa League semi-final. De Rossi however believes the German side are in a stronger position to avoid defeat this time.

“For those who believe in it, it can be hope. I think about preparing the match and my players. On the pitch we will find a stronger and improved team. This year they have more awareness, they know they are champions,” the Italian added.

“They have a free mind, and they want to be champions in Europe too. The numbers say they have changed, but just looking at it is a good memory, I hope it bothers them, but we are focusing on this match. We know they are stronger.”

The other Europa League semi-final will see Olympique Marseille take on Atlanta at the Stade Velodrome.

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