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Wily Shakhtar seek to hold Roma in check

Mircea Lucescu feels FC Shakhtar Donetsk have "enough experience" to hold on to a 3-2 lead as AS Roma come to Ukraine bidding to dazzle under new coach Vincenzo Montella.

Mircea Lucescu is happy with Shakhtar's situation
Mircea Lucescu is happy with Shakhtar's situation ©Getty Images

Mircea Lucescu said FC Shakhtar Donetsk are "ready to fight" to defend their 3-2 UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg lead at home against AS Roma, but Vincenzo Montella believes his side have "the ambition and the ability" to prevail in his first European game as coach.

Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
The team are well prepared, we are ready to fight. The players gave their all in our latest training session and everyone is ready to play apart from Olexandr Kucher. The pitch is in excellent condition. In the past we had problems and had to play at the RSC Olimpiyskiy, but everything is very well now.

Since Vincenzo Montella's appointment Roma have changed their style. I have a feeling that the days of Luciano Spalletti are returning. We are familiar with their attacking style of play because we played against Roma five years ago in the Champions League group stage. The absence of Marco Cassetti and Jérémy Menez through suspension will not weaken Roma: they have enough top-class players to replace them.

It's very important for us to win tomorrow. Our opponents naturally want revenge, but Shakhtar have enough experience to get a proper result. We need to qualify and after that we will think about what comes next. It's too early to speak about it right now.

Vincenzo Montella, Roma coach
We have come to Donetsk with the ambition and the ability to win. Right now all of us are completely focused on Shakhtar. We will start our preparations for the derby match against [S.S.] Lazio after the Champions League game.

Shakhtar are a well-organised team. We have all had a chance to assess them from their performance in Rome. We have to make the game difficult for them. It is very important to not let them play the way they want to. I am very optimistic about our chances to win here. Roma have great potential, but we must all pull together if we are to win.

It is very important for me to achieve a unity of purpose in the team. I have a lot of enthusiasm and am trying to live up to this role. I have a good understanding with [captain] Francesco Totti. He listens to my advice and does everything I tell him to do.

Team news
Fernandinho is back in action after recovering from a broken leg, but Kucher is out with a knee problem. Dmytro Chygrinskiy, Olexiy Gay, Luiz Adriano and Răzvan Raţ are within a booking of a one-match ban.

Menez and Marco Cassetti are serving one-match suspensions. Adriano has not played since dislocating his shoulder in January, while Simone Perrotta misses the next match if he receives a card in Donetsk.

Latest results
Thursday: FC Sevastopol 0-1 Shakhtar
(Luiz Adriano 90+6)
Lucescu's side prevailed in their first Ukrainian Premier League fixture since 28 November, and have now won their last 13 competitive matches, and 28 of their 31 fixtures this term. Shakhtar have won all 15 of their home games this season, and 18 in a row at home in all competitions.

Friday: US Lecce 1-2 Roma
(Giacomazzi 75; Vučinić 32, Pizarro 90pen)
David Pizarro's first goal since 14 March 2010 earned Roma's seventh win in 19 away games this season. Of the 39 Serie A goals the Giallorossi have conceded this season, 25 have come in the last half-hour of games.

Did you know?
Shakhtar have gone through on the five previous occasions they won the first leg of a European tie away from home, including in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round when a 3-2 victory at Boavista FC was followed by a 1-1 draw in Ukraine.

See the match background for more information.

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