Published on: 18 February 2021

Here’s what Paulo Fonseca had to say during Wednesday’s pre-match press conference ahead of the return of the Europa League.

Roma face Sporting Braga on Thursday evening (kick-off: 18:55 CET), as the last-32 of the competition gets underway.

What does it feel like for you, to be coming back to Braga?

“For me it’s very special to be playing here, in this stadium. I have great memories of my time here, that give me a close bond with this club. It will be a great to see so many friends again and to face Braga in this tie.”

You’ve already talked about some of the strengths of this Braga side. What sort of game are you expecting?

“I’ve made it very clear with my players about how good Braga are. Perhaps they don’t all watch the Portuguese league that much, but now I am confident that they all know what is in store for them. To win we will have to play to our very best.”

Can you tell us what the line-up will be tomorrow? And do you see a difference in quality between the two sides?

“A lot of you think there is a difference, in theory at least. In reality, I am convinced that Braga have the ability to go up against any side, and play to win.

"They are a well-organised side, strong, that have already shown their potential with some of the results they have picked up against good sides this season - especially in the league. We have to be prepared for that, for their collective workrate. We have to be focused at all times.

“As for the line-up… you can wait a few hours and see it tomorrow.”

What sort of match is it likely to be?

“I think it will be an open game. I hope it does not rain too much beforehand, considering that it is already raining right now. Roma and Braga are both sides that have a clear attacking identity; they don’t wait for their opponent to make a move, especially on their own turf, and they always look to try to take the initiative. So I think it has the ingredients to be a great match.”

(Photo Getty Images)