Fonseca: ‘Roma ambition in Manchester’

Paulo Fonseca repeatedly warns Manchester United might be the Europa League favourites, but Roma have their own ‘ambition. We must dream and fight.’

The first leg kicks off on Thursday at Old Trafford at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

“This is a very important match. You don’t get to play a semi-final every day and we all know how important it is,” said Fonseca in his press conference and on Sky Sport Italia.

“We saw the fans today, it’s important to feel that level of support. We want to fight for the fans, the city and the club.”

Manchester United have already won the Europa League and have been the favourites ever since dropping down from the Champions League.

“We are up against a huge team, the favourites to win the competition. We prepared well, obviously I also spoke to Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who played here. They have experience in the tournament.

“We all know it’ll be difficult and we respect Manchester United, but we also have our ambitions. These are two teams with strong attacks, very quick. We’ve prepared well.

“It’s important having Chris back, especially as Gianluca Mancini is suspended, but I trust those filling in. I think it’s important to remember the whole team works towards defending, not just the defenders.

“It’s true we are not doing well in Serie A at the moment, but it was tough dealing with so many different matches. We want to play and face Manchester United with ambition.

“It’s difficult to say what the recipe for success is. Obviously, we need the perfect performance and know we cannot make mistakes.

“They are a strong team, but we have the motivation of playing a semi-final. It’s important that we have players like Smalling, Mkhitaryan and Jordan Veretout back.

“We have great respect, but also ambition. We must dream and fight, this moment is too important for us, for the city, for the fans and for Italy. We want to fight for everyone.”

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