Eusebio Di Francesco backed his side to continue to developing and challenged them to earn more nights like Wednesday, after being knocked out of the Champions League semi-final to Liverpool.
Despite a courageous comeback on the night, it wasn’t enough to make Roma’s Champions League final dreams come true. The Giallorossi whipped up a storm at the Stadio Olimpico as they beat Liverpool 4-2. However, the Serie A side were still forced to make an exit from the competition after the Reds pipped them to the victory 7-6 on aggregate over two enthralling legs.
Di Francesco was naturally disappointed to see his side miss out on the UCL final but insists Roma must take this opportunity to develop and prove to themselves they belong in the Champions League.
As quoted on the club’s official site, the Italian claimed: “We’re going to have to ask the lads to produce that little bit more. It would be great if we could play in another semi-final like today. We still have to qualify for next year’s Champions League in Serie A but our performance tonight should make us realise that we can compete in the Champions League.
“We have lots of young lads in the squad who just need to bide their time and keep developing. It hasn’t been easy to get where we are. We’ve improved so much but I don’t want to settle for this – we must keep moving forward and do even better.”
Yet, the Roma boss could not deny that mistakes in both legs proved costly to their Champions League hopes;
He continued: “Mistakes can make all the difference, especially when it’s a team like ours that’s not used to playing big games at this level and a coach managing in the Champions League for the first time. We did so well and we showed how far we’ve come but we could have done even better.
I’m disappointed because we could have shown even more belief. Going back out for the second half I told the lads that just as we’d scored three against Barcelona we could score four against Liverpool. We showed that and if you look at the chances we created and the decisions that went against us it’s disappointing more than anything.
“At the end of the day, I can only pay credit to the lads because what we managed to do was extraordinary. It’s not easy when you go 2-1 down in the first half – having gifted two goals to the opposition – to then come out and respond the way we did, putting Liverpool under the cosh without getting caught on the break.
“We were almost perfect today – unlike at Anfield, where in 45 minutes we ruined so much of the good work we’d done beforehand.”