Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui not underestimating ‘very strong’ Roma

Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui believes Roma are a stronger side this season than when they reached the Champions League semi-finals.

The Italian club advanced to the last four of the tournament last season for the first time in three decades but Lopetegui believes their coaching stability and summer dealings have improved them.

“Last season, Roma knocked out Atletico Madrid in the group stages and then Barcelona in the quarter-finals, we should not underestimate them under any circumstances,” Lopetegui told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

“That season they were semi-finalists but now I believe they have made improvements and are a stronger team – now they have more depth with the same coaching staff.

“It is important to have that continuity in terms of the Coach and his staff because then there will be clearer ideas of playing and they will be further down that road.

“These competitions, such as the Champions League and the World Cup, are the tournaments that define the careers of players and they improve players, giving them more experience, more confidence, more belief, more character.

“We have a squad full of players who have proven themselves on this stage and we hope to continue to do so.”

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