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De Rossi sets sights on rising to Shakhtar challenge

Club captain Daniele De Rossi faced the media on Tuesday to preview Roma's Champions League last-16 tie with Shakhtar Donetsk.

Wednesday's first leg gets underway at Kharkiv's Metalist Stadion at 20:45 CET (21:45 local time).

Here are the key quotes from the midfielder about the upcoming game...

On his own fitness...
"My fitness is good - it went better than I was expecting on Saturday [when he returned after a few weeks out]. We'll see if I'm able to play back to back games, but I think I can. I feel good and I kept my fitness levels up even when I wasn't playing. I think I'm up to playing tomorrow."

On Shakhtar and the winter break...
"Shakhtar haven't played for a long time so we can't know what sort of shape they'll be in. They'll have spent the past month thinking of nothing but this game and that could be to their advantage. Having said that, the lack of competitive football could work against them.

"We'll give it our very best shot. We've played against them in the last 16 before - that was after their winter break too - and we all know how that one finished..."

On playing in Ukraine...
"The cold weather could affect things a little because we're not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

"If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don't go through because of the weather."

On Roma's European run...
"We've had an amazing European campaign so far in what was an extremely tough group. Now we're into the next stage against different opponents and there's more on the line. We have a 50% chance of going through - I don't think either side is favourite.

"We want to advance to the next round not to 'save our season' but because we want to carry on winning."
Tuesday February 20, 2018
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