Fonseca reflects on Roma’s ambitions in Serie A and Europe after beating Shakhtar

Roma claimed a 2-1 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the second leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie on Thursday, advancing to the quarter-finals with a 5-1 aggregate triumph.

Borja Mayoral scored a brace in Ukraine to extend his record as the tournament’s top scorer this season, leaving Roma in confident mood ahead of Friday’s draw for the next two rounds.

Here’s how Paulo Fonseca reacted to the win against his former club.

On the key to managing the tie

“It was important to start the game well, and not to concede a goal in the first 30 minutes. Shakhtar had the initiative at the start, but I think we defended really well and launched some dangerous counter-attacks too.”

On whether Roma are better in Europe than Serie A

“I think we’ve shown that we are well-suited to Italian football. Perhaps there is some truth there though – in competitions like this teams have to go out and win matches, and that gives everyone more space to play in.”

On whether it will be easier to win the Europa League than finish in the top four in Serie A

“It’s not easy in the league, there are a lot of really good sides. There are seven who are all aiming to finish in the Champions League spots. They are all focusing on the league, whereas we have the Europa League to think about too. But nevertheless we want to fight as hard as we can to finish in the top four.”

On how Roger Ibanez is after a head injury

“He’s okay. He doesn’t really remember anything that happened during the game.”

On learning how to deal with being judged

“You always have to understand the mentality and try to adapt to it. Balance is important not just in football but in life as well. I always try to transmit that attitude to the players, and indeed everyone who works with me.”

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