Paulo Fonseca knows his Roma side will have to keep Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes quiet if they are to have any hope of reaching the Europa League final.
Roma have struggled for consistency in Serie A this season under Fonseca but they are shining in the Europa League and are looking to shock Manchester United in their semi-final tie – with the first leg on Thursday night at Old Trafford.
United have been in rather formidable form recently, and ahead of the tie – which he has labelled the ‘biggest challenge of his career, he has singled out Rashford and Fernandes for praise in particular.
‘They have amazing players who can decide in one situation one game and we have to pay attention these individual situations of Manchester United,’ Fonseca told ESPN. ‘I think Rashford is an amazing, amazing player. He’s having a great, great season. But I think Man United as a whole team are strong.
‘But I have to confess, we cannot think to go to Manchester to just defend. We have to have the ball because I don’t believe if you think just to defend near our box that we have a chance to beat Man United.’
Fonseca meanwhile has admitted that he is not surprised to see compatriot Fernandes thriving in England for United, another player who can make the difference for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side against Roma.
‘Bruno played many years here in Italy and just when he returned to Portugal with Sporting, where he had a great season,’ Fonseca said.
‘The people understood the real value from what he did a Sporting, it was amazing. And what he’s doing in Manchester is also amazing. He’s a player with a strong personality, he wants to win all the time.’
United head into the Europa League semi-final as favourites against Roma, but Fonseca is relishing the task that lies ahead.
‘I have experienced many games in the Champions League but I have to agree that this is the greatest game in European competition,’ he added.
‘To play a semi-final against Manchester United is maybe the biggest challenge in my career and European competitions.’