Daniele De Rossi jokes a panic-inducing penalty shoot-out over Feyenoord was ‘a very Roma way of winning’ and he had to thank the fans. ‘I hold back from leaping on the barricades – I wouldn’t be able to now!’

It was a dramatic night at the Stadio Olimpico, as Lorenzo Pellegrini cancelled out the Santiago Gimenez opener and extra time was not enough to separate them either, as it ended 1-1 just like in Rotterdam a week ago.

“It is wonderful to remember everything that happened tonight. It was my first European night in Rome in this role,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“I am very happy it ended like this, I think it was deserved considering all we did throughout the match, especially the first half.”

Historically, the Giallorossi have a very bad record on penalties, including the infamous European Cup Final defeat to Liverpool and last season’s Europa League Final to Sevilla.

“It was a very Romanista way of winning, causing people heart attacks! I think we shook off a bit of fatalism, we have these sayings here like ‘never any joy,’ but we can turn over a new leaf.

“We are not the ugly ducklings. We’re starting to win too, we are a good team in a great stadium, I am pleased.”

Mile Svilar was already a penalty specialist, as he parried a spot-kick in the Champions League at the age of 18, but has been a revelation since De Rossi promoted him to first choice ahead of Rui Patricio.

“He’s strong because he now has support from a team that is behind him, he plays more regularly and is also supported by Rui Patricio, who is a great man, I want to point that out.

“I know people say penalties are a lottery, but it’s not just luck, because he works hard, studies the opponents, is quick off his line, so he knows what he’s doing and that brings luck onto your side.”

Pellegrini had equalised with a stunning right-foot curler into the far top corner, confirming his excellent recent form since former teammate De Rossi took over.

“It is only right that he enjoys these moments, that his name is on this wonderful night. It is early to celebrate, we’ve still got a Round of 16 to play, but he needs to enjoy this moment. He had moments not too long ago when he was doubted and criticised, which he did not deserve.”

At the end of the shoot-out, De Rossi ran under the Curva Sud to join in the celebrations with all his players and had a big hug with Romelu Lukaku, who had missed a penalty.

“I had to thank the fans. I feel a bit ashamed doing that now as a coach, it was easier when I was a player, but they called me over. Even from before the match when we were on the bus here, it barely touched the ground there were so many people.

“They gave us such support and affection, a gigantic love pouring in. I try to be as cool-headed and moderate as possible, but I don’t want them to think I’ve changed too much! I hold back from leaping onto the barricades the way I did when I was 25, also because I wouldn’t be able to reach now!”

Roma have been transformed since De Rossi replaced Jose Mourinho, both in Serie A and the Europa League, and now go into the Round of 16.

“I am super happy with what I am seeing, but there is a lot of work still to be done. Teams always need to work, even when they have been together for years. I am trying to pass on some concepts and areas where we have to improve, for instance that we should’ve been ahead in the first half.

“It is true that we do not always manage to hold out 90 minutes at the same tempo, but also don’t forget we were up against a team that was built to compete in the Champions League. We must work and figure out why we don’t resist that long, but at the same time I saw everyone pour forward at the 120th minute to support Lukaku when the goalkeeper performed a miracle on his shot.”

Roma had not won a penalty shoot-out at the Stadio Olimpico since the Coppa Italia tie with Triestina in 2002 and curiously enough, De Rossi had taken the first kick.

“That was one of my first matches and therefore one of the first times I had to lift my hand and put myself forward. That felt like the Champions League Final to me, as I was from the youth team!

“What I want to underline is that there were six penalty takers ready to step up, and that is not always the case. Angelino wanted to take it and we had to cut him from the list, so nobody held back.”

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