AS Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan is a confident man ahead of his team's Champions League opener against Barcelona on Wednesday. Talking to the media at a pregame press conference, the Belgian international talked about the dangerous attack of the Blaugrana, but believes his team needs to have faith in its capabilities of beating the Treble winners at Stadio Olimpico. Here's a few highlights from his presser:
Radja, how do you stop the Barcelona attack?
"It’s a tough task but we have a strong defense and if we work hard for each other, I think we can do well."
How do Roma approach this Champions League opener?
"I think we just need to focus on ourselves. We know we’re a strong side and we’re facing another strong side. But if we spend too much time thinking about them we won’t give the best account of ourselves. We need to focus on doing our jobs well and have confidence in our means."
What effect can a sold-out Stadio Olimpico have on the game?
"We have lots of fans and their support gives us that extra impetus. We hope they stay behind us and provide an extra boost, not just for this match but for the entire season."
What kind of impression did Barça make on you at the Joan Gamper Trophy game?
"As a footballer it’s your dream to play against great players. It was a pre-season match but the quality of their players was there for all to see. It was a great feeling for all of us but this is a competitive match now and we hope to perform much better than we did in the Gamper Trophy."
Do you think this first game could be decisive towards the final result of the group?
"No, I think it’s more important to win the other games. Against Barcelona we want to get some sort of result, at least at home. The fans will spur us on and might be the difference in us achieving a great result."
What do you think of the Champions League group you were drawn into?
"We know that Barcelona are the favorites, but as I said, we need to be confident in our strengths. I think we can qualify."
After a first season that was a success for you personally, do you think your second year will be tougher?
"I think we’ll do better this year than we have in previous seasons. I hope to win something this year because we’ve strengthened and that means we can make the step up."
What personal goals have you set for yourself this season?
"I want to keep improving as a player and make my contribution to the side – that’s why I play football. I try to give my all for the team so we can realize our group objectives."