UEL: Xabi Alonso calls for caution against Roma despite Leverkusen lead

UEL: Xabi Alonso calls for caution against Roma despite Leverkusen lead

Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso has called on his players to apply caution ahead of their UEFA Europa League semi-final second-leg tie at BayArena on Thursday night.

The newly-crowned Bundesliga champions recorded a 2-0 win in the first leg at the Stadio Olimpico last week, keeping their unbeaten record and shot at winning an unprecedented treble intact.

Despite the advantage Leverkusen enjoys going into the second leg, Alonso is not taking any chances, citing their semi-final loss to the Italians in last season’s Europa League semis which was the last time they suffered a competitive defeat.

“We’ve made important improvements, but I am not too focused on this. I am much more focused on tomorrow’s game. Last year’s games helped us gain experience, so we are cautious and focused,” the Spanish tactician told Sky Sport Italia.

“We can’t lower our guard and we should not only defend, but also attack. We must know what to do and try to hurt them. Roma are a complete team. They have evolved under De Rossi, and if they are in the Europa League semifinal, it is because they have great players. We know them well.

“Last week, was a good lesson for us ahead of what awaits us tomorrow.”

The Spanish tactician added: “The second match is always more dangerous. A goal can quickly change the scenario, so we must be focused from the start.

“We have not forgotten the pain from last season so we must use this energy to celebrate with the fans at the end of the game.”

Leverkusen’s unbeaten run currently stands at 48 games after they defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 5-1 on Sunday. It saw them match the European unbeaten record set by Benfica between 1963 and 1965.

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