Lopetegui shows respect for Roma

18 September 2018 08:46:18 EST

Head coach Julen Lopetegui has warned his Real Madrid side to expect to have to face a Roma outfit who are even better than they were last season.

The Italian outfit reached the semi-finals of the Champions League last season, putting paid to both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona along the way, before losing out to Liverpool.

We expect to face an intense and aggressive team.

Julen Lopetegui

And Lopetegui, who took charge of Real this summer, is well aware of the size of the test the three-time defending champions will face when they take on Roma at the Santiago Bernabeu in their first Group G game on Wednesday evening.

He told the Spanish media: "I won't explain what Real Madrid are for the Champions League and the Champions League is for Madrid.

"Roma knocked Atletico out of the Champions League last season and then eliminated Barca and I expect a better Roma than last season. We expect to face an intense and aggressive team.

"Pressure on me? You have to face each competition with ambition and enthusiasm. Pressure always exists at Madrid."

Real, who have won only two of their previous home Champions League meetings with Roma, are 2/7 to secure a victory on Wednesday and are 10/3 to win by a one-goal margin, with the hosts 17/2 to claim a 2-1 success.

Meanwhile, Lopetegui says he cannot afford to think too much about superstar Cristiano Ronaldo having left for Juventus in the summer and is focused fully on the player he does have at his disposal.

He added: "No Ronaldo? We are focused on the players who are still here and we are all ready to compete on all fronts."

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