United Briefing: Telles picks out Roma threat
Manchester United full-back Alex Telles has identified a familiar face for the Reds to keep an eye out for in the upcoming UEFA Europa League semi-finals with Roma.
The Giallorossi boast 2017 winners Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in their squad, as well as former Premier League players Federico Fazio, Jordan Veretout and Pedro.
Telles says he is aware of the ability of the Romans, but named a 35-year-old former Manchester City man as the key threat.
“Yes, we’re always keeping an eye on the teams we may come up against further down the line, so we’ll watch their games,” Telles told United Review, our official matchday programme.
“I know Roma are a quality team with very good attacking players such as Edin Dzeko. Players who create a lot up front. They’re also very good defensively, an experienced team, they aren’t in the semi-finals by chance, there’s a lot of quality in the team.
“I think they are going to be two great games. We’re going into the games well prepared and confident of doing our best.”
The Brazilian knows Roma well, having played for Inter Milan during the 2015/16 season.
He also came up against the Giallorossi while with Porto, in the second round of the UEFA Champions League two years ago, scoring the winning penalty in a 4-3 aggregate victory.
While the Romans’ squad has undergone wholesale changes since, Dzeko remains and the Bosnian – who hit five goals against United while a Manchester City player – will make us pay given the chance, Telles warns.
“He’s a quality finisher, he knows how to score goals,” added Alex. “You’re dealing with a centre-forward with a real physical presence because of his stature.
“He’s a constant danger so we need to concentrate. I believe we have a very strong and focused backline to deal with this.
“We know facing a team like Roma in a semi-final that we’re going to be up against quality players. We have to be ready.
“I’m a big believer that these important games are decided in the details,” he continued. “When we come to these moments, the team that’s most focused and prepared will win the game.
“There’s quality on both sides – United and Roma. I think the winning team will be the one that focuses on the fine details of the game; even in moments where it may not appear to be that important, it will make a difference at the end of the game.
“I think details make a big difference in the game.”
As is the case with several members of the squad, Telles is no stranger to silverware, having lifted eight trophies since moving to Europe with Galatasaray in 2014.
A first cup with United, though, is something that’s driving Alex and the Reds on, as we stand three games away from glory in Gdansk.
“All the trophies won are really important to the club and in the career of a footballer. Given the grandeur of United, I believe we’re practically obliged to win something every season.
“We know the history of this great club. We have this responsibility to take United to the highest level possible, it’s our main duty.
“It will be very important to win this trophy and it will really boost our confidence going into next season, but as I said we take things game by game to achieve our goals.”
You can read the full interview with Alex in United Review, the official matchday programme, which is on sale now.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and a player will appear in front of the press in the afternoon to preview the big semi-final clash with Roma.
We’ll have all the latest news surrounding the tie, including a squad update directly from the boss as well as the lowdown on Roma’s travelling squad and whether ex-Reds Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be involved.
Both sides will train ahead of the clash, too. Away from the match, we’re wishing Juan Mata a very happy 33rd birthday, while there’s another spin-off story from Ruud van Nistelrooy’s brilliant UTD Podcast. If you haven’t listened yet, make sure you make time to do so!
WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?
The Reds trained in front of the cameras too, and you can see that gallery here.
Part one of Bruno Fernandes’s excellent fan Q&A was released, with the Portuguese playmaker revealing he’d like to move into management one day.
On that note, there was good news for Casey Stoney, as our Women's head coach was nominated for a prestigious managerial prize.