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 By Ben Gladwell

Roma should reach Champions League semifinals every three years - Daniele De Rossi

Daniele De Rossi has said Roma must focus on following up their run to the Champions League semifinals with more of the same next season.

Roma lost 7-6 on aggregate to Liverpool despite winning 4-2 at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday, and have a four-point lead over Inter Milan in the race for a top-four finish and Champions League football next season.

And Roma captain De Rossi wants them to use this season's European exploits as a springboard for more success.

"I congratulate my teammates -- I am so proud of them all," he told the Roma website.

"To be captain of this group of great players is an incredible privilege.

"If we want to make this amazing Champions League run even more memorable, we must make sure we get back in the competition by finishing in the top four.

"And we need to believe it's a competition we can win, because we've seen that we're not far behind the other teams.

"Given how big a club Roma is, reaching the Champions League semifinals should be something we do once every three years, not once every 30.

"It was the sort of atmosphere I hadn't seen for years, since I was a kid, like in those games against Brondby and Slavia Prague. They may not have brought us a trophy, but I've never forgotten them.

"On nights like this you sense the pride, the love, the very essence of being Roman. That's something we have to build on now."

After early Roma pressure, midfielder Radja Nainggolan's misplaced pass gifted Liverpool the chance to take the lead.

The Belgium international, who went on to score twice, apologised on Instagram for the error, writing: "I'm proud to be part of this great team.

"I'm sorry for the mistake which influenced this final result so much... we move on..."

Roma travel to Cagliari on Sunday before hosting league leaders Juventus and end their Serie A season at Sassuolo.

"Now we must make sure we keep the core of this side together, with great players, experienced players, gutsy players, and keep dreaming," De Rossi added.

"The same goes in the league, because a team like ours shouldn't be 20 points off the pace."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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