Radja Nainggolan believes the 2-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid was “a sign we need to roll our sleeves up” and reaffirmed his commitment to Roma.
A point would’ve been enough to qualify at the Wanda Metropolitano, but now it all goes down to the final game.
“I thought it was a good first half, we won back the ball three or four times in their half and could’ve made more of those chances. We conceded that goal and then fell apart a little,” the midfielder told Mediaset Premium.
“At the start of the group, who would’ve said we’d be playing Qarabag at home with the possibility of getting through? So we have to give our all against Qarabag and book our place in the next round.
“I thought the performance was actually much better than the one where we drew 0-0 at the Olimpico. Atleti really needed the victory and were pressing us high, but we can learn from this along the growth process. We are still in the running and perhaps this was a sign to make us roll our sleeves up and knuckle down.”
The Belgian had left international duty with a groin injury, but played on against Lazio and Atletico Madrid with the aid of pain-killers.
“I had a few problems in the past on international duty, so people like to criticise. I had an injury that was fairly serious, but I was fortunate enough to recover quickly. I do feel it, but as long as I am able to play, I want to help my teammates. I have to rest now, as there is another battle on Sunday in Genoa.”
Diego Simeone told Mediaset Premium that Nainggolan would be “extraordinary” in his Atletico Madrid squad.
“These are lovely words, but I am focused on Roma. I think I made the choice I was happy with last year and the year before. I am happy to represent this team, I live happily off the field and I see absolutely no reason to change that.
“It’s an honour for me to wear the armband, following the likes of Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi. Whether I wear the armband or not, I have it within me and feel the desire to always give something more on the field for my team.”