REAL MADRID Vs ROMA
As Real Madrid and Roma battle for a place in the quarter-finals Champions League competition., Zinedine Zidane said that Real Madrid is facing a ”difficult” game, and cannot afford to take anything for granted despite having a 2-0 lead over Roma.
Ahead of Tuesday’s fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid coach, Zidane admits that the Roma are “very strong”.
“They’re a very good team, but I’m more concerned with my own team,” the Frenchman said at a pre-match media conference.
“I know it’ll be difficult, they’re very strong. We have to concentrate on this match, all games are there to be played.
“I keep repeating that, because that’s the way it is. If we don’t play well we could lose and be eliminated, that’s clear.
“We’re focused and we’re preparing in the best way. It’s the most important match for us, because it’s the next one.”
“When you start your career in coaching it’s to play matches like tomorrow. I’ve already had these emotions as a player, it’s an indescribable feeling,” Zidane added.
“What we have to do is to win, we can only think about tomorrow’s game. Many people will think it’ll be easy, but that’s not the case.”
You will recall that Cristiano Ronaldo and Jese Rodriguez scored second-half goals at the Stadio Olimpico to put the Spanish side on course to reach the quarter-finals of Champions League competition.
Zenith St Petersburg’s Coach Andre Villas-Boas believe that Zenit can overturn their 1-0 first-leg loss to Benfica. According to the coach, his club is expected to overcome the Portuguese side, and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in their history.
The first leg ended 1-0 in favour of Benfica, with Jonas last minute goal gave the Portuguese side the edge. Also in that encounter, Domenico Criscito received a red card.
But the coach of the Russian champions believe that his side has an advantage playing at home. Hear Villas-Boas, “In the return leg at we have such an advantage with our fans,” said Villas-Boas.
“I am sure it will be a full stadium and they will create the atmosphere that will help the team to a new level.
“We are confident that we can score the necessary goals. The quarter-finals of the Champions League is our dream – it will be a major event for Russian football. And of course, this special emotion will help us on Wednesday.”
PSG’s Italin Verratti showed respect for their opponents, Chelsea, as they battle each other for a place in Champions-League quarters.
“I prefer entertaining football, but having a personality like Costa in your team is always good,” Verratti told the Guardian.
“He uses warfare to win the games, but I know him, he’s a good guy who transforms when he comes on the pitch.
“If I was to pick a player that I identify with in this Chelsea team it would be Cesc Fabregas. He makes you see what the game is about, he breathes football and you can tell by his way of playing how much he loves it.”
However, turning back to his team, Verratti was not very happy on PSG’s performance in the 1st leg encounter, and expect his side to improve, to avoid the “disaster” of elimination at Stamford Bridge.
“We confirmed we are a good team, but there are things we could have done better,” he said. “We could have put Chelsea in more trouble. We have to go to London and play our football, if we do anything else we’ll be in trouble.
“We need to keep the possession of the ball, attack and go for an early goal. These are the games that we wait for all season. Being eliminated in the Champions League would be a bit of a disaster.”
Verratti hopes to shake off lingering issues with a groin complaint to face Chelsea, with fellow midfielder Blaise Matuidi battling to overcome a thigh injury after Angel Di Maria returned to action for Saturday’s goalless draw against Montpellier.
On Chelsea’s side, their Brazilian winger, Willian wants to win something, cup/s, so as to reward their coach with silverware.
“We always have pressure to win titles at Chelsea and we know that,” he told the club’s official website. “We have to stay concentrated on this game.
“I hope we can give Guus a title. It would be great for us and for him so we will try our best to do that.”
Chelsea veteran coach, Guus Hiddink, urge his side to channel their ‘’anger’’ towards the right direction.
“We are not the favourites. We have regained confidence and have quality but PSG can rest five, six or seven players,”.
“But let’s be very tough underdogs. We need to be angry in a controlled way on Wednesday. The players must be fully concentrated.”
With a 2-1 victory over in-form Borussia Moenchengladbach last Saturday, VfL Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs, believe that his club, who won the first leg 3-2 in Belgium (they were leading 3-0 but conceded 2 late goals to end the tie 2-3), are confident that they will overcome Gent on Tuesday and move onto the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
“When you win against such a top team like Gladbach then you are allowed to be confident,” said Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs. “We are back in the game.”
“We know that the tie is not finished yet, but if we play like we did against Gladbach then we will advance into the next round.”
“Games like the one on Tuesday should heal every wound,” Hecking said.
In the other side, Gent coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck is desperate to see his striker Laurent Depoitre, who missed Friday’s match and Saturday’s training with a bad back and strained abdomen, back to fitness. He also has some worries over Serbian centre back Stefan Mitrovic, (foot injury). With those injury worries, the coach believes that his side still have a chance in Germany.
“When we were 0-3 down (against Wolfsburg), everyone thought this away tie would be just a city outing for us,” goalkeeper Matz Sels said when asked if he was optimistic about the return leg.
“But thanks to the two goals we scored we have made it a contest. We certainly shouldn’t throw it open at the start because it would be deadly for us to concede a goal.”
“Even if we only go 1-0 up in the 80th minute it would 10 minutes of jitters for Wolfsburg and then you never know if you have another good crack with the ball,” he said.
The Belgian champions was 3-0 down after an hour of the last-16 first-leg encounter, but late goals from Sven Kums and Kalifa Coulibaly gave them some hope of turning the tables. But their coach believe that GENT needs to do a ‘’miracle’’ to overcome Wolfsburg in Germany.
“We’ll need a real miracle as Wolfsburg generally don’t lose at home by more than two goals,” he said. “In the last year that’s only happened against Bayern Munich, Napoli and Everton. So it won’t be easy.
“That doesn’t mean we’re giving up because miracles do happen. I’ll prepare my players so they can play the best game they can.”
“We will try everything to achieve our dream of qualifying for the next round,” he said. “In the first leg match we were asleep for the first 80 minutes and started too late. We have to improve on that.
“We just want to play a good game. This group always goes for it, we don’t give up on anything.”