Champions League

Barcelona coach Valverde braced for Roma 'intensity'

2018-04-09 23:04
Ernesto Valverde (Getty Images)

Rome - Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said on Monday he expects a Roma backlash in their Champions League quarter-final second leg at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday.

The Spanish league leaders have one foot in the semi-finals after romping to a 4-1 first leg victory in the Camp Nou last week as Roma proved partly the architects of their own downfall in scoring two own goals.

But Valverde isn't counting his chickens against a side that hasn't reached the semi-finals since 1984.

"I've been doing this long enough to know that extraordinary things can happen in a game," said Valverde at Monday's pre-match press conference in Rome.

"It'll be the same kind of game as the first leg, but they'll have even more intensity.

"History says that, at our level, it's hard to score against us, but we can't think that they don't have a chance or they won't try.

"A mistake, an excess of confidence, they could cost us dearly and we are at the doors of the semi-finals."

He added: "We can't think we've already won, it's all to be decided. We got a good result at Camp Nou, we have the advantage, but we need to play as though it were 0-0."

Roma managed to stifle Barca star Lionel Messi in the first leg, which was a source of pride for their coach Eusebio Di Francesco.

"Everyone was saying he wasn't fit and suddenly he scored a hat-trick (in La Liga) on Sunday," said Di Francesco.

"This means we managed to limit his movement between the lines. We have to reduce the space around him as much as possible, wherever he pops up on the pitch."

Di Francesco has been boosted by the return of Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan, who missed the first leg due to a muscular problem, and Turkish winger Cengiz nder, who was not in Barcelona either.

"I'm someone who always wants to play, even in pain," said Nainggolan. "I decided to leave room for others, who were in a better condition than me, but now I'm better again."

Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets is a doubt as he recovers from a fractured toe, but Valverde can count on the attacking duo of Messi and Luis Suarez.

"Every team and coach wants to stop the best players from hurting them. We have Messi, and that has an effect on the opposition," said the Barcelona coach.

"They did well in the first leg, but we know he can always find the key to be decisive. Then of course we'll have to be wary of (Edin) Dzeko and others."

Barcelona last reached the semi-finals in 2015 when they won the title.

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Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Club Brugge v Monaco, Jan Breydelstadion 18:55
PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Internazionale, Camp Nou 21:00
PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool, Stadion Rajko Mitic 19:55
Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Napoli v PSG, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 07 November 2018
Valencia v Young Boys, Estadio de Mestalla 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Roma, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Manchester United, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v AEK Athens, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid, Doosan Arena 22:00
Benfica v Ajax, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Hoffenheim, Groupama Stadium 22:00
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AEK Athens v Ajax, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Viktoria Plzen, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Valencia, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v Benfica, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v Young Boys, Old Trafford 22:00
Roma v Real Madrid, Stadio Olimpico 22:00
Hoffenheim v Shakhtar Donetsk, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Atletico Madrid v Monaco, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 19:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Galatasaray, RZD Arena 19:55
Porto v Schalke 04, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
PSG v Liverpool, Parc des Princes 22:00
PSV v Barcelona, Philips Stadion 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge, Signal-Iduna-Park 22:00
Napoli v Crvena Zvezda, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Internazionale, Wembley Stadium 22:00
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