Real Madrid coach optimistic ahead of Champions League clash with Roma

Madrid, Sep 18: Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui said on Tuesday that he was feeling optimistic about his team's upcoming UEFA Champions League group stage opener against Roma.Speaking at a press conference on the eve of Wednesday's match, the Spanish coach gave his assessment that Roma have stepped up their level of play, reports EFE news agency."The Roma squad is bigger and better than last season, and they're going to make things difficult for us," Lopetrgui said."Last season Roma knocked Atletico out in the group stage, Barcelona in the quarterfinals and reached the semifinals of the Champions League. They're a side that has improved and the squad is more complete and has more depth. They also have the same coach and continue to consolidate the way they play," he detailed.Heading into his first Champions League match as head coach of Los Blancos, Lopetegui praised the squad and his predecessor Zinedine Zedane, who were crowned European champions the previous three years in a row."You can only take your hat off to the players and their coach. Now I'm going into each competition with desire, enthusiasm and confidence that we will win. It's normal that there's pressure at Real Madrid," he said."We're excited going in to the Champions League and are ambitious... I don't need to explain what it means to us, and what Real Madrid means to the Champions League," he added. 

IANS