Edin Dzeko says a win against Udinese is essential if Roma are to have a clear mind in the return leg against Porto.
The Giallorossi have an especially tough season opener, as they start off Serie A on Saturday at 17:00 GMT against the Zebrette, in a game sandwiched between their two Champions League play-offs.
“It’s always good to win the first game, especially if you are playing at home,” said Dzeko, in an interview with Roma TV published on the club's official site. “If you want to reach big targets you have to win your home games, so it’s an important game.
“It’s a different game compared to the one against Porto. We play at home, it’s the first game of the season and obviously it’s not going to be an easier game as it’s also the first game for Udinese and they want to do well. But we want to win our first game at home, then with three points we can prepare well for the second game against Porto.
“At the end the 1-1 in the first leg was a fair result and also a good one for us, because I think we played 50 minutes with one player less. So it is a good result for us even if in the first half I think we played very good and maybe we could have scored one or two more goals. But we didn’t, and now we have the second game at home when we can decide our future.
“I’ve already been here one year, so I know the players that I played with last year are all good players and the new players that came now they are definitely going to help us. We have to be like a team, I don’t like to speak of just one person, because we are one team and we will do it altogether.
“I think all the teams are better this season, because they have bought some new players. But I think we are strong also and we want to start the first game with a win and that’s the only thing that counts at the moment.”
Last year Dzeko was unable to conquer the Giallorossi fans, but he's hoping that with a longer preparation period, he may yet turn things around.
“Yes, last year I didn’t have pre-season with Roma and I didn’t have many games to play in pre-season so obviously it was maybe a bit more difficult in the season. But now I feel ready, I feel prepared, I think I did a very good pre-season and I want to bring that into the season.
“I want to do better than I did last season, that’s the only target that I have. I want to help my team to win the games. Obviously I am there to score goals, and I am going to try and do that as much as I can.”