Serie A TIM


Luciano Spalletti met with the media on Sunday afternoon to discuss Roma's Monday night match against Bologna: “I'll start by giving you an update on the injury situation. We should have everyone available for training today. [Norbert] Gyomber and [William] Vainqueur are back after their problems. [Antonio] Rudiger had an abscess but he's fine now and Daniele [De Rossi] will be with us too following his back problem. Everything seems to be under control and everyone should be available.”

What's your biggest fear going into tomorrow's game?
“I think we should highlight how well [Roberto] Donadoni has done. He's hard-working, professional and knows how to convey quality and character to his players. You don't get them out of the hole they were in unless you know how to teach football and organise your team on the training ground. The dip in form Bologna have experienced recently is a consequence of all the good work Donadoni has done. They were in a very sticky spot and now they're virtually safe. A lull is natural after that but precisely because they don't have any worries this could prove to be a tricky game. In any case, I don't think my players will give anything less than their all. I'm sure they'll be able to demonstrate their quality but of course if Bologna turn out to be better than us on the day we'll have to accept it. We shouldn't forget that they're the only team who have been able to stop Juventus' winning run."

How's Kevin Strootman doing and could he feature in the starting line-up?
“Kevin is getting better all the time and whenever I bring him on he shows what he's about both as a player and as a person. Obviously he's hasn't been able to play at the pace and intensity of a real match very often but I know that when I call on him he'll be ready. He's on the road to making a full recovery.”

Is De Rossi fit enough to return to the starting eleven?
“That's something we need to consider carefully and we have to look at how the players who have been playing more regularly are doing too, not just Daniele. I have lots of players pushing for a spot in the team because they want to show what they can do and they want to be a part of Roma. Those who aren't playing need to help the 11 who do start while fighting to press their own claims to be picked. They can do that by performing at a high level in training – that's where you see the real level of your players and that's where you become a great team, which is what we're doing at the moment. You're asking me about De Rossi and Strootman and people are saying that [Seydou] Keita is playing well. Well, those three could all be in competition for the same shirt and that's both an advantage for me and a difficulty if I have to choose to hand a starting berth to just one of them. And there are other options too. When Roma are playing as well as we are at the moment it's easier to move people into other positions to make room for someone else.”

Are Roma better with a lightweight attack or the heavy-duty version with Edin Dzeko?
“That's not an issue. The coach's job is to get the team playing and to get people in behind the opposition backline and we're doing that both with Dzeko and without Dzeko. I have the luxury of being able to choose and I'm sure that, even after making a choice, if I'd made a different choice we still would have done well because of the squad I have available here. Look at Juve – they've been able to get all three of their big strikers clicking together. That's important because it means that when problems arise you can turn to different options.”


Could tomorrow be a match for Francesco Totti to play in?
“The confidence is still there and he wants to play an important role in the dressing room. I try to make sure everyone is involved and do what is best for Roma. I treat Francesco like a real footballer and not many people do that. I pick him if he offers me something more than the others. In one way or another he's still a leader for us with the charisma he has. Lots of players like to play first time and he's one of them – he needs people making runs to bring out the best in him. Lots of people play the ball sideways whereas he plays forward passes, and he's one of the few who do that. I've always seen him as a magnificent trequartista, someone who can play others in on goal, but if the team are able to support him then he can operate in other positions too. He needs the ball played to feet so that he can send others through on goal. Totti can do anything he wants in future but we're both moving in the same direction to get results for Roma. As for the present, he's in my thoughts. He didn't train the other day and he only did half the session yesterday but he's one of the options I have available to me."

(Photo LaPresse)