Roberto De Zerbi has revealed why a Europa League battle with Roma will be extra special.

Albion will visit the Stadio Olimpico in the first leg of the last 16 on March 7 (5.45pm UK time) with the return at the Amex a week later (March 14, 8pm).

It sets up a tussle between fiery Italian coaches with Daniele De Rossi having recently taken over from Jose Mourinho at Roma.

De Zerbi said: "De Rossi is my friend. Our daughters are big friends and I have big respect for him.

“I knew before he worked at Roma he could be a great coach because as a player he showed incredible character, his father is a coach.

“He feels football like me, he has a big heart, he is a passionate person and we are friends. But I hope to win."

De Zerbi will keep focus on domestic action for now.

He said: "I want to keep my eyes on the Everton game and then we play in the FA Cup against Wolves.

"It’s a tough game, but if we want to go far in the Europa League we have to win.