Roma coach Vincenzo Montella stayed upbeat after his team's elimination from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Shakhtar Donetsk last night.
The Italians lost 3-0 in Donetsk as the Ukrainians progressed for the first time to the quarter-finals of the competition with a 6-2 aggregate win.
"We leave the competition with our heads held high," Montella said. "Before the game I asked my players to be consistent and improve aside from the result. I think my players took a big step in that respect.
"I'm happy with the performance of my team as, until we went a man down, we created a great deal and had a good approach against a fine squad. We had five or six shots on goal in the first half, then the red card changed everything. You cannot play at certain levels down to ten men for 50 minutes."
With the Italians trailing 1-0, Roma striker Marco Borriello had a penalty saved and shortly after team-mate Philippe Mexes was sent off. Despite those incidents, Montella, who replaced Claudio Ranieri at the helm of Roma earlier this month, was satisfied with his team's showing.
"My team went out for the win," Montella said. "I see a group that is united and that is why we cannot be demoralised. When I took over, the team lost determination during negative moments. Instead against Shakhtar, we were always solid and mustn't be downhearted, as we are on the right track."
Roma will now turn their attention to the domestic front. Montella hopes his team will bounce back immediately, starting in Sunday's city derby against Lazio. "We must forget about this defeat and concentrate on the positives," he said. "Against Shakhtar we attacked but we were unable to find the goal. I hope we will score in the derby."
Roma lie sixth in Serie A having claimed seven points from a possible nine in their last three league games. They are five points behind fourth-placed Lazio, who hold the last Champions League qualifying spot.