Pellegrini: Roma ‘more aware of our capabilities’ after Champions League run

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Lorenzo Pellegrini may be playing next to a Roma legend like Daniele De Rossi, but the 22-year-old has been around Rome long enough to feel like it’s not a big deal.

In fact, back in Rome for a second-straight season following two campaigns at Sampdoria, he’s ready for a bigger role. Pellegrini was a big part of Roma nearly overturning Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League semifinal lead, and the taste is still in his mouth.

[ MORE: PST chats with Roma’s De Rossi ]

“Last year was my first year and it took some time to settle in a big team,” Pellegrini said, speaking to ProSoccerTalk ahead of the club’s International Champions Cup matches in the U.S.
“That’s normal, I know, but I really hope I can devote myself and do even better. The team did something incredible reaching the semifinal. It will be tough to do it, but this year we are more aware of our capabilities.”
“No one expected us we would go that far, and it just gives us more desire to keep on working and improving. We know now even better how to face certain games, like the first leg at Liverpool. We should’ve played a better game but all-in-all last season gives us the confidence to do it again.”

There’s a lot more work to do in the Roma midfield with Radja Nainggolan off to Inter Milan.

And after playing a season next to De Rossi, Pellegrini is prepared to shoulder more of the burden. After all, he spent some time with the club’s academy, looking up at players of De Rossi’s ilk.

“Daniele is a role model not only for me, but for any young football players,” Pellegrini said. “He is a top player and still playing at this level at his age. He’s a special player and professional. It’s easy to play alongside him. The stats are there. His career is there and he’s a good player to move forward.”

Roma at the ICC

Wednesday: vs. Tottenham Hotspur (San Diego)

July 31: vs. Barcelona (Arlington)

Aug. 7: vs. Real Madrid (East Rutherford)