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Ernesto Valverde: Roma's 'aggression' was too much for Barcelona

Ernesto Valverde: Roma's 'aggression' was too much for Barcelona
From ESPN - April 10, 2018

Ernesto Valverde said Barcelona's failure to deal with Roma's "aggression" was the main reason why his side exited the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Barca travelled to Italy with a 4-1 lead from the first leg but goals from Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas helped Roma complete an improbable turnaround and advance to the semifinals on away goals.

The Serie A side, roared on by a Stadio Olimpico full of belief, took the game to Barca from the first minute and were ahead inside the first 10 minutes through Dzeko.

Valverde's side never recovered from that early setback and spent the majority of the game pinned back in their own half, unable to get Lionel Messi into the game.

De Rossi's second-half penalty and Kostas' late header sealed Roma's passage to the last four as the La Liga leaders left the competition at the quarterfinal stage for their third time in a row.

"The truth is that it was a game in which we could not play our football," Valverde said in his postgame news conference. "[Roma] were very aggressive, they played very well and we have to congratulate them.

"Everything went well for them. They scored early and got themselves right back in the tie. Then they scored [again] early in the second half and at no moment were we capable of getting into the game because of how well they played.

"They were aggressive and they took the game in the direction they wanted it to go. It was a bad day for us because could not overcome their pressure. You had the sensation that they could get the third goal at any time and in the end, they did."

Valverde, who named the same side as the first leg, did not make his first substitution until the 81st minute and said the buck stops with him for the defeat.

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