Wednesday March 10 2021
Fonseca: 'Dzeko and Ibanez back against Shakhtar'

Paulo Fonseca confirms Edin Dzeko and Roger Ibanez are available against Shakhtar and reveals where his former club have changed.

The Portuguese tactician joined Roma from Shakhtar in 2019.

Tomorrow the Giallorossi host Shakhtar at the Stadio Olimpico in the first leg of the Europa League last 16 stage.

"It will be a challenging game because Shakhtar are an excellent team. They beat Manchester United twice this season and picked up two draws against Inter," Fonseca said at a press conference.

"They are very dangerous, maybe the best in Europe, on counterattacks. We need an excellent performance because it will be a challenging game."

How have Shakhtar changed since he left?

"They've changed their system, but they have the same players. I used to play with a 4-2-3-1 formation. They use a 4-1-4-1 now.

"We have our strategy to face Shakhtar, not my ex-team. I know the team well and the players know my ideas.

"We prepared a strategy based on what Shakhtar do now, not what they used to do when I was there," the coach claimed.

"Dzeko trained with the team today and will be called up and the same is true of Ibanez," he continued.

"I think our defensive performances have improved lately, it's not only up to the defence, but we must give credit to the whole team for this.

"We know it's important not to concede goals and we improved an essential aspect of the game.

"The team's organization has always been good. We have improved on the mistakes that allow the other team to go out fast to attack.

"I think we are playing safely now. We're not losing the ball so much right now.

Stadiums in Italy are closed due to the COVID pandemic while fans are allowed in the stadiums in Ukraine.

"I like to play with fans, whether it's at home or away. If there will be fans in Ukraine then I'm ok with it. Football with fans is different and I like to have that chance."