Tuesday September 18 2018
Manolas: ‘Roma should’ve been in final’

Roma defender Kostas Manolas believes they should have reached last year’s Champions League final as there were “two penalties not given” against Liverpool.

The Giallorossi were beaten 5-2 at Anfield in the first leg of the semi-final, but came so close to overturning the result in Italy.

Trent Alexander-Arnold appeared to handle on the line in their 4-2 win, which should have resulted in a penalty and a red card.

“We went really close,” Manolas recalled, speaking to Marca.

“We lost the first game in Liverpool, and then the return… there were two penalties not given, a forgiven red card for Liverpool… that’s why we didn’t reach the final.”

Manolas scored the goal which eliminated Barcelona last season, and tomorrow night they face the Blaugrana’s bitter rivals Real Madrid…

“We eliminated Barcelona, a team with a lot of champions with one of my goals. I don’t know if I’m an idol for Madrid fans as you say, but I’ll give everything for my team.

“They’ve said they’ll applaud me! It’s fine, it’ll be fun, but when the game starts I’ll think about winning for my team.

“We have to go to the Bernabeu and play our game with a positive attitude.

“Cristiano Ronaldo? He’s a champion, but Real Madrid will always be Real Madrid. Now they’re playing more as a team, and players like [Gareth] Bale, who used to stand in Cristiano’s shadow, have stepped up.

“It’s normal, now the talent of a lot of the team will come out. The team all played for him [Ronaldo] so they’ll definitely be stronger now.”

The Lupi haven’t started the season well though…

“The problem isn’t the defence, the attack, or the attitude,” Manolas insisted.

“We all need to defend and we all need to attack. A team doesn’t depend on four defenders or three forwards. It’s something that concerns everyone.

“The aims for the season? To return to the Champions League next season, so finishing in the top four.

“We know that Juventus have the best squad in the league, but we’re waiting for our chance.

“In the Champions League the objective is to get to the knockout stage and take it step-by-step without ruling anything out.”

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