De Rossi explains keys to winning first leg of Brighton showdown

Andy Mattioli

Daniele De Rossi explained his team’s approach to the first leg with Brighton in the Europa League Round of 16.

In his post-match interview with Sky Sport, De Rossi was asked about preparations that went into the week’s training and resulted in an emphatic 4-0 win over Roberto De Zerbi’s side.

“I think you prepare for games like this by respecting your opponent. The more I respect an opponent and the more I try to stop them from playing the way they want. Roberto’s teams are thinking teams when they’re in possession, so you have to decide whether to wait for them on your goal line or not give them time to think.”

“The scoreline might suggest I came up with a masterpiece but the result isn’t a true reflection of the game. They deserved a bit more. Our goalkeeper did well. We gave away a few chances, as you’d expect against a team like this.

“My players were almost perfect. I won’t say perfect because there’s no such thing as perfect and they’d stop working and trying to improve. But they were fantastic closing down, fantastic with the effort they put in, because I don’t know how much off-the-ball running [Paulo] Dybala and [Romelu] Lukaku were used to.”

“They worked their socks off and that’s what I want to see. I saw Dybala making sliding tackles left, right and centre. If you don’t have that sort of attitude in games like this, you can end up getting stuffed. However, as I said, I don’t think we deserved quite this margin.”

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MatchDay 36
12 May 20:45