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AS Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi is adamant there are no psychological scars among his team-mates despite the manner of last season's UEFA Champions League exit as they prepare to open their latest European campaign against FC Dynamo Kyiv.
After a 2-1 home win in the quarter-final first leg, Roma were overwhelmend 7-1 by Manchester United FC at Old Trafford in the return, a result that caught the attention far beyond the Italian capital. "That result was not something we could wipe from our memories," De Rossi said before their opening Group F fixture. "Unfortunately it will stay with us but we can learn from it and become stronger. Nobody was to blame; we all had to stand up and take a bit of the responsibility."
The Italian international believes Roma must now show consistency if they are to challenge for the top European honours on a regular basis. "The same six or seven sides are always up there – [AC] Milan, [FC] Internazionale Milano, [FC] Bayern München, [FC] Barcelona, Real Madrid [CF] and Manchester United," he said. "For us to be considered among the best, we have to reach the knockout stages over a period of time. If we do that today, then tomorrow we can become like them."
'Up for it'
De Rossi, along with fellow Roma midfielders Alberto Aquilani and Simone Perrotta, has seen at first hand the strength of a number of Dynamo players having been part of the Italy squad that edged to a 2-1 win against Ukraine in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying Group B two weeks ago. "Performing for your national and club teams is very different but they will be up for it," he added. "They possess good technical players who will be harder to beat than most think. Victory in your first match at home is psychologically important but we have a bit of experience from last year of how to manage these games."
After winning their first three Serie A matches the next month, which features league matches against Juventus and champions Inter along with a daunting encounter at Old Trafford on Matchday 2, could define Roma's season. "It's difficult to be at 100 per cent for all matches and every game is now crucial," De Rossi added. "It will be important to play as a unit – to attack and defend together. But we are more balanced, we are better individually and have a stronger squad this year."
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