Di Francesco slams Roma: I should have substituted half of them!
Eusebio Di Francesco launched a furious verbal assault on his Roma players after they surrendered the lead to lose 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk, the Giallorossi coach saying he ought to have substituted half his team.
Roma will have to turn this Champions League last-16 tie around at the Stadio Olimpico after Facundo Ferreyra's equaliser and Fred's stunning free-kick maintained Shakhtar's perfect home record in this season's competition.
It was just Shakhtar's third Champions League knockout win – remarkably all have come against Roma – but the Serie A side looked the likeliest after Cengiz Under continued his fine recent run to give them the lead at half-time.
But Shakhtar roared back into the contest and might have won by a greater margin, if not for two impressive Alisson saves and a stunning goalline clearance from Bruno Peres in the last minute of stoppage time.
"We dropped badly after their [first] goal, but not just physically, above all psychologically," Di Francesco told Mediaset Premium.
TFW you score your first ever #UCL goal!
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 21, 2018
"In the first 50 minutes we played to hurt Shakhtar, in the second we played to control – what we were supposed to be controlling, I don't know.
"I am not at all satisfied with the second half. We made far too many mistakes, above all with those players who have experience at this level. It was like seeing two different teams.
"I cannot think we are presumptuous when winning such an important game, it's not as if Roma are accustomed to getting into the round of 16. It was more that we abandoned what we had planned before the match.
"After the equaliser, I should've substituted half the team. Shakhtar are very dangerous when attacking, we knew that, but it was our play that was the problem with too many mistakes and our passing was not at all clean."
The sides meet again in Rome on March 13.