Europa League

Brighton defender Jan Paul van Hecke: “Playing Roma will be special.”

John Solano

Brighton central defender Jan Paul van Hecke acknowledged he and his teammates are excited about their upcoming tie against Roma in the Europa League Round of 16.

The two sides meet in the Italian capital on Thursday evening for the first leg at the Stadio Olimpico before next week’s return leg at Falmer Stadium.

“When you watch the draw it feels a bit unreal sometimes to see Brighton drawn against Roma and yourself in it,” he told Brighton’s official website.

“It’s really special going to the Stadio Olimpico and it’s special for all of us. There are great stadiums [in the Europa League] and you play against great teams.

“You never know with the draw who you’re going to get and then you hope you get a nice game and we got one. So hopefully we’ll go through to the next round.”

The Dutchman also revealed he gained an early insight into Roma even before the official draw.

“I watched Roma’s game against Feyenoord because I’m from Holland and it was a good game to watch,” he said. “Roma are a good team with really strong players.”

Adding, “But I think for us there are also really good opportunities and we will try to go there and have a good result. It’s a hard opponent but I think we are a strong team as well so let’s see.”

Match Center

MatchDay 36
12 May 20:45