Kumbulla: ‘I dedicate my goal to Roma’

Marash Kumbulla scored Roma’s winner in their Europa League clash against Young Boys last night and revealed who he dedicates his goal to.

The former Verona man scored on his European debut.

“It was an incredible debut, we won thanks to my goal but I’m happier for the team’s win than for my goal,” he told Sky Sport.

“In the first half they pressed very high, we struggled a but it is normal, in the second half their pressing was less intense.”

Kumbulla, 20, has had a very positive start to the season after completing on a loan move with option to buy from Verona last summer.

“I settled in well, I think so. It was only thanks to the coach, team and staff that I was immediately integrated. Without them it would not have been so easy”.

“I dedicate my goal to the team because we won in a difficult pitch.”


Pioli: ‘Milan working in same direction’

Stefano Pioli explains why Milan have become such a juggernaut after another victory, this time away to Celtic in the Europa League. ‘It all changed in January.’

The Rossoneri looked at times too comfortable at Celtic Park and took their foot off the gas entirely in the second half, allowing Mohamed Elyounoussi to score a goal, but still won 3-1.

Elsewhere in the group, Lille picked up a 4-1 win away to Sparta Prague.

“It was a game we controlled well with character and quality, although we made a few more technical errors and ran a few risks in the second half.

“It was very important for us to prove we were not a ‘normal’ team. A normal team shows less motivation and determination after such a thrilling victory as the derby, but we proved that we are taking it one game at a time and want to keep winning,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

Milan stepped up another gear following the lockdown and remain unbeaten in all competition since the restart.

“There’s no secret, it’s just that we’ve all been working in the same direction for some time now. The club, players, staff all feel like an integral part of this project and we all work together to keep improving.

“The club deserves credit for continuing the work we’ve been doing and bringing in some talented young players who can add more to the mix.

“Good results boost self-belief, but we know full well the difficult moments will come and we’ll have to work our way through them.

“It’s a young squad, but even a player like Gigio Donnarumma is 21 years old and yet already a mature person and player with plenty of experience.

“I think we’re doing well because we don’t waste a moment of the time we have together and always consider the next match to be the most important.

“Roma have a remarkable front line, so it’ll be another big test between two teams who want to play positive football, score more goals than their opponents and take the initiative.

“We want to continue our positive form and above all the journey that has seen us progress constantly since January.

“I think it all changed in January, when we brought in players who were more suited to our style of football and filled the gaps that we had in the squad.”

Pioli was asked how far away Milan are realistically from making the step up to Scudetto challengers and he did not shy away from the question.

“We think that we are at a good level, we know where we want to end up, as we are ambitious, but must also not be hasty or try to cut corners in order to get there.

“We continue to work on every detail, technical, tactical, physical, dietary, and will probably bolster the options further in January or next season. Having said that, there are currently four or five teams in Serie A that are stronger on paper, that’s beyond doubt, and we must focus on our journey.”


Fonseca: ‘Good response from Roma’

Paulo Fonseca was pleased with Roma’s 2-1 Europa League victory away to Young Boys. ‘I’m glad the players gave such a good response.’

The Giallorossi had been trailing 1-0 at the break, but substitutions inspired a comeback to win 2-1 in Berne with goals from Bruno Peres and Marash Kumbulla.

“The important thing is to have faith in all your players,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia after changing nine of his starting XI from the side that beat Benevento on Saturday.

“It was not an easy game, as let’s not forget that even Juventus lost here a few years ago and Young Boys won 15 home matches in a row. It was important to get the win and we did well.

“There’s still a long way to go in the group and the season. We rested a few players and can now focus on Milan in Serie A.”

Of the players who came off the bench, one of the most influential was Leonardo Spinazzola, replacing Rick Karsdorp.

“He is in a great period of form and a very important player for this team,” agreed Fonseca.

“I am glad that those who hadn’t played for a while gave such a good response when called upon. It’s very pleasing.”

CFR Cluj are also top of the Europa League group after their 2-0 win away to CSKA Sofia.


Europa League Liveblog: Round 1

Join us for all the build-up and action as it happens from three Europa League games, as Napoli host AZ Alkmaar, Roma visit Young Boys and Milan play at Celtic Park.

If you are on a mobile device or tablet, then follow the Liveblog HERE.

We begin at 17.55 UK time (16.55 GMT) with two matches, as Napoli hope to keep their Serie A momentum going in Europe against an AZ Alkmaar side decimated by COVID-19.

At the same time, Roma are in Switzerland against Young Boys and are the hot favourites to top their group, but will test the limits of their squad strength in depth.

Milan take to the field in Glasgow at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT) against Scottish champions Celtic, who dropped into the Europa League from the Champions League preliminary rounds.

The Rossoneri had to fight to get here via the play-offs and are currently top of Serie A with a 100 per cent record.


Seoane: ‘Roma Champions League level’

Young Boys coach Gerardo Seoane maintains Roma ‘are a Champions League level team’ and the real battle is for second place in their Europa League group.

It kicks off on Thursday at 17.55 UK time (16.55 GMT), in a group with CSKA Sofia and CFR Cluj.

“We always want to give our best and there is a clear favourite in this group, who we will be facing tomorrow,” said Seoane in his press conference.

“Roma are a Champions League level squad. Each of the other three teams in the group have the same odds of going through in second place, so that is what Young Boys are aiming for.

“I won’t reveal exactly what tactical approach we will be taking tomorrow. We know Roma are a very compact team, solid defensively and often with three at the back. They are dangerous upfront with players like Pedro and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

“We won’t have many scoring opportunities against such a strong opponent, so we must be efficient and clinical if we want the three points tomorrow. We’ve been doing some specialist training on the finishing over the last few days.”

Young Boys have been hit by injuries and COVID-19, ruling out Sandro Lauper, Esteban Petignat, Christopher Martins and Marvin Spielmann, while Ulisses Garcia is still in isolation until tomorrow.

“Ali Camara has been training for three days, so he will be in the team.”