Europa LeagueInterviews

Roma’s Tiago Pinto stresses importance of tonight’s Helsinki clash

Tiago Pinto of AS Roma speaks.
John Solano

Ahead of their second group stage match in the Europa League, Roma executive Tiago Pinto admitted tonight’s clash versus Helsinki is an important one after losing last week in their first match in Group C.

Ludogorets stunned the Giallorossi in Bulgaria last week defeating the capital club by a scoreline of 2-1 thanks to a late goal in the 88th minute.

“When there’s only six matches and you lose your first one then that makes tonight an important game for us,” he told Sky Sport.

“Obviously we want to progress but I wouldn’t say tonight is decisive, there’s still four more games to go.”

Pinto was also asked about the state of Roma’s squad including midfield duo Bryan Cristante and Nemanja Matic as well as attacker Nicolo Zaniolo, who is making his first start in nearly a month after recovering from a shoulder injury.

“If Mourinho continues to play Cristante and Matic together then clearly he’s doing so because he believes they’re capable of doing so.”

“I like these two guys as players but we’ve had to make changes because of Wijnaldum’s injury. However, it’s not an issue.”

He added, “Zaniolo’s return and his contract renewal? Nicol√≤ is an important player for us and I’ll echo what he said yesterday, which was perfect: let the professionals take care of the off-the-pitch matters.”

“There’s no issues between he and the club, he still has two years remaining on his current deal. Things will happen when they’re meant to.”

Finally, he weighed in on Paulo Dybala’s quick start to life in the Italian capital.

“I have to say something about Paulo: everyone knows about his quality on the pitch but what’s surprised me most is how hard he works.”

“Someone like him, a guy that has won everything, he works so incredibly hard and is very humble. He’s won everybody at Trigoria over. He’s happy here and it shows on the pitch.”

“When someone like him is happy it makes things easier on the pitch. I honestly thought it’d take him a bit more time to get going but luckily for us he’s doing well.”

Match Center

1/4 Final
18 Apr 20:00