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Friday 21 September 2018

Roma need one more 'miracle' comeback

Mountain to climb: Roma’s manager Eusebio Di Francesco
Mountain to climb: Roma’s manager Eusebio Di Francesco

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco admits he is looking for a miracle in their Champions League semi-final second leg at home to Liverpool.

Having stunned Barcelona, who arrived with a 4-1 lead in the last round but exited the competition on away goals after the hosts' 3-0 win, Di Francesco hopes lightning strikes twice as they try to overcom e a 5-2 deficit.

"I would do a copy and paste (of the Barca game)," he said.

"It is in the mind of t he players. In order to compete against a rival such as Liverpool, we need to raise the bar in terms of physical effort, then comes the attitude, approach to the game and trying to score an early goal to have the fans behind us even more.

"We have conceded very little to our rivals at home (Roma have not let in a Champions League goal at the Stadio Olimpico this season).

"It won't be easy, but it is our duty to believe it. Thanks to the passion of our fans, we have our fans behind us so we all have the desire to complete one more miracle, if I may use the word."

There will be a particular focus on fans over the next 48 hours after an attack before the first leg left 53-year-old Reds supporter Sean Cox in a critical condition.

A huge police operation is being undertaken to keep the 5,000 travelling fans safe and while Di Francesco admits there is a problem with some of the club's supporters he insists it is not specific to Roma.

"I'm afraid that rotten apples are everywhere in all sets of fans," he added.

"Obviously someone who does not belong to our true fans did something very, very wrong. My thoughts and prayers go with the family."

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