Monday February 11 2019
Pellegrini: Porto a turning point

Lorenzo Pellegrini believes Roma’s Champions League last-16 tie with Porto can ‘change our season’.

Roma get the first leg under way on Tuesday and Pellegrini called on their fans to be the 12th man at the Olimpico, in the hope of possibly emulating last season’s run to the semi-finals.

“Porto aren’t a top, top European team, but they’re still a great side,” the midfielder told Tele Radio Stereo.

“They’re physical, they play good football, run a lot and know what they want. It’ll be a very difficult game, but we want to advance.

“After last year we know what it means to go through, plus it can change our season, despite the difficulties we’ve faced so far.

“It’ll be a battle with our fans because having the fans behind us at our stadium is very important to us.

“It’ll give us an extra boost. If our opponents see the fans aren’t with us they’ll take strength from that, so it must absolutely not happen.

“It’ll be important to stick together so we can play well and then go through after the second leg.

“Everyone knows how much De Rossi means to us. Daniele could be sitting in the field and he’d still be important.

“During this time when he has to be careful, I want to help him feel good on the pitch so we feel the same.”

The Italy midifelder then reflected on his new-found popularity after he scored during the Giallorossi’s 3-1 win against capital rivals Lazio earlier in the season.

“It all became simpler from the derby onwards,” he added.

“2018 was a special year, I had to deal with new emotions and feelings.

“I didn’t reach my objectives last season, so this year I wanted to be more consistent.

“We live for football every day and I know the qualities of my teammates. This year we’ve made a lot of mistakes, we won’t deny that.

“If we replayed the match against Fiorentina, it wouldn’t end 7-1 to them again. Everyone has to improve.

“This team are made up of young lads, so we must grow and gain experience. Our quality has never been in doubt.

“We know we’ve been built to stay high up the table, which is where we want to be.”

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