Mircea Lucescu said his Shakhtar Donetsk side “have a great future ahead of them” after a 6-2 aggregate victory over Roma secured their place in next Friday’s quarter-final draw.
Two Willian goals and another from substitute Eduardo ensured the Ukrainian side reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.
Marco Borriello missed a first half penalty for the visitors when the score was 1-0 and the dismissal of Philippe Mexès effectively ended Roma’s hopes before the break.
“We prepared well, knowing we couldn’t afford to lose the margin we earned in Rome,”said Lucescu. “We had problems at the beginning of the match as Roma produced some strong football but we were well organised and managed to rearrange and eliminate errors during the match. We attacked well and after we scored the first goal we stopped thinking about Roma because the cooperation and coordination between our players grew much stronger.
“Roma became very nervous after the dismissal of Philippe Mexès. We have many youngsters who are very quick and they showed it. I am very happy with my lads: they have a great future ahead of them. One cannot think that we won only because Roma were reduced to ten men. We played very well against 11 men too, and would have won as well. I expected a result like this because I have trust in my team; I trust in our preparations, in the atmosphere at our stadium, in our supporters.”
Roma boss Vincenzo Montella, making his coaching debut at this level, applauded his players’ attitude, but acknowledged that the dismissal of Mexes effectively ended the game as a contest.
“Ahead of the game I asked my players to prove that we are improving regardless of the result and qualification,” he said. “I’m satisfied because the approach was very good and we played very well while it was 11 against 11.
“Then Mexès was sent off and it’s difficult to play at this level with ten men, especially against a side like Shakhtar: they are very good at keeping possession and use all parts of the pitch.
“We played a good game but once again we finished with ten men and we had a few players booked for fouls we could have avoided. I think we are improving and we shouldn’t be demoralised by this defeat – that was the main problem in the team when I arrived.”