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Lucescu never doubted Shakhtar quality

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu hailed the quality of his young squad after they bundled Roma out of the Champions League.

Roma fell 3-0 at Shakhtar on Tuesday to crash out of the Champions League last-16 with a 6-2 overall aggregate.

The Ukrainian champions were aided by the dismissal of Roma defender Philippe Mexes, whose rough treatment of Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano left Roma needing three goals with 10 men in below-freezing conditions.

Lucescu said he never doubted his side would make it through to the quarter-finals of Europe’s most prestigious tournament.

“We prepared well, knowing we couldn’t afford to lose the margin we earned in Rome,” Lucescu said.

“We had problems at the beginning as Roma produced some strong football but we were well-organised and managed to rearrange and eliminate errors during the match.”

“We attacked well and after we scored the first goal we stopped thinking about Roma because the cooperation and coordination between our players grew much stronger.”

“We have many youngsters who are very quick and they showed it. I am very happy with my lads; they have a great future ahead of them.”

“One cannot think that we won only because Roma were reduced to 10 men. We played very well against 11 men too, and would have won as well.”

“I expected a result like this because I have trust in my team; I trust in our preparations, in the atmosphere at our stadium, in our supporters.”

Roma boss Vincenzo Montella was always going to struggle to help his side overturn the deficit they suffered under his predecessor Claudio Ranieri, especially given Shakhtar have not lost at home in any competition since October 2008.

But the Italian found reason to be hopeful for the future in his coaching debut at European level.

“Ahead of the game I asked my players to prove that we are improving regardless of the result and qualification,” Montella said.

“I’m satisfied because the approach was very good and we played very well while it was 11 against 11.”

“Then Mexes was sent off and it’s difficult to play at this level with 10 men, especially against a side like Shakhtar; they are very good at keeping possession and use all parts of the pitch.”

“We played a good game but once again we finished with ten men and we had a few players booked for fouls we could have avoided.”

“I think we are improving and we shouldn’t be demoralised by this defeat – that was the main problem in the team when I arrived.”

Article title: Lucescu never doubted Shakhtar quality

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