Eusebio Di Francesco admits he wanted to “substitute half the team” after Shakhtar Donetsk beat Roma 2-1. “We abandoned our plan.”
The Giallorossi had taken the lead through Cengiz Under, on his Champions League debut with the fifth goal in four games, but Facundo Ferreyra pounced on a defensive error and Fred’s free kick went in off the underside of the bar.
Alisson also had to perform heroics in the second half to keep the scoreline down and Bruno Peres cleared off the line in stoppages.
“We dropped badly after their goal, but not just physically, above all psychologically. In the first 50 minutes we played to hurt Shakhtar, in the second we played to control – what we were supposed to be controlling, I don’t know,” Di Francesco told Mediaset Premium.
“I am not at all satisfied with the second half. We made far too many mistakes, above all with those players who have experience at this level. It was like seeing two different teams.
“I cannot think we are presumptuous when winning such an important game, it’s not as if Roma are accustomed to getting into the Round of 16. It was more that we abandoned what we had planned before the match.
“After the equaliser, I should’ve substituted half the team… Shakhtar are very dangerous when attacking, we knew that, but it was our play that was the problem with too many mistakes and our passing was not at all clean.
“We had some issues early on, so I moved Nainggolan to cover some of the exchanges down the left, where Ismaily was causing a lot of problems. We knew that could be an issue, but in the first half we had many vertical passes and were dangerous, whereas in the second we were sterile, passing it horizontally and going nowhere in particular.
“Dzeko will give us great support in future. At times tonight, his teammates didn’t see his runs into space and those could’ve been crucial in a game like this.
“I hope Edin can score a goal again as soon as possible, because he lives for the goal.”
Alisson performed heroics in goal with two absolutely sensational saves.
“The most important thing about Alisson is not just his saves, but his presence in the goal. He is essential in everything he does and won’t fly through the air for the photographers, only when it is necessary. He gives great confidence to the defence and makes hard saves seem easy.”
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