UEFA Europa League


See everything the boss Luciano Spalletti had to say ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-16 second leg clash against Olympique Lyon. As usual, the boss began by giving an update on the fitness status of his squad.

“The tests on Bruno Peres came back all clear so he is available," Spalletti revealed. "We’ll have to see how it goes in training today. [Diego] Perotti felt his right flexor before we left for Palermo but he did train yesterday. If he looks good again today then he’ll be available. Emerson [Palmieri] has a tendon problem in his left quad so after training today we’ll decide whether it’s worth having him on the bench or not.”

Tactically speaking, how do you approach tomorrow’s game?

“You have to closely analyse what happened in the first leg and weigh that up against what we need in terms of a result. Another thing that comes into it is the decisions we got wrong in the away match. I saw lots of things that we did well but we need to look at what didn’t go right because we can change that and work on it. Our desire will be sky high tomorrow night – we certainly won’t be wandering around the pitch.”

How is the squad doing mentally after the Palermo win?

“They always seem good when I speak to them. I see maturity in these players. We have an open dialogue and then are always ready to analyse things properly before we discuss it. I’ve never noticed any doubt in their mind. We’ll need that extra something tomorrow – we can’t afford to make bad decisions.

"We’re at a disadvantage after the first leg, but you have to look at it logically. Even if we’d lost 1-0, we’d still have to score two goals tomorrow night. That’s the right approach. Having seen the way the game went in Lyon, I think qualification is there for us to reach out and grasp.”

What will you say to James Pallotta when you see him?

“First off I’ll greet him warmly. I have nothing in particular to say to him, but I’ll listen to anything he wants to tell me. I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal. It’s only right that a president can say things to his coach – my job is to get results and hope that they are satisfactory for him. All I need to do is listen.”

How important will it be for both sides to cut out the defensive mistakes?

“It’ll be a very delicate game in terms of positioning and concentration. Our priority in defence will be to keep an eye on them going direct. We need to inject tempo into the game and force the issue to score goals, all the while maintaining our organisation and balance to deal with their counters. That’s what we absolutely must do.”

Will you go with a back four?

“The team could line up like it has done recently, but we have the option to change to a four-man defence. The main thing is to ensure the team is balanced. We were fine in terms of numbers in Lyon but we still conceded, which is a sign of tactical imbalance. Regardless of how we play, the main thing is to come out of these games without any regrets and play without worrying about the first-leg result, which doesn’t mean anything. That’s what I expect from my team. I’m convinced that they will want to be the stars of the show tomorrow night without worrying about conceding. It may well be that we concede, but even if we do qualification is still possible: 3-1 is a doable result. There’s no doubt in my mind that we will produce a big performance and do what we need to do for the whole 90 minutes.”

In 50% of the games Roma have played this season, the team has secured a scoreline that would see them through tomorrow night. Do you think you have a chance of qualifying?

“I’ve already spoken about the percentage chance we have with my squad. Given the quality of my players, I believe we have a 60% chance of going through.”

(Photo LaPresse)