Daniele De Rossi explains why Roma switch back to a 3-5-2 formation, rest Romelu Lukaku against Torino and give Chris Smalling his first start in 178 days. ‘Zero excuses.’

It kicks off at the Stadio Olimpico at 17.30 GMT.

You can follow all the build-up and action as it happens from this game and FiorentinaLazio on the LIVEBLOG.

The Giallorossi were in action here on Thursday in the Europa League play-off with Feyenoord, which went to extra time and had to be decided by a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

There are numerous changes, including a return to Jose Mourinho’s 3-5-2 formation, with Smalling’s first start since September 1 and Evan Ndicka also making his full debut in 2024 after the Africa Cup of Nations.

“It is because of the opponents, because Chris is back after a very long time and because we are inevitably not that sharp,” De Rossi told DAZN of the change in tactics from 4-3-3.

“Torino also played on Thursday, not quite as long as our game, but they still played, so we have zero alibis. Those who play assured me they are in good shape, so I expect a great performance.”

Toro were beaten 2-0 at home by Lazio in the rescheduled Serie A Week 21 fixture on Thursday evening.

Smalling had not started a match for Roma since September 1, suffering from a recurring tendon issue amid reports he resisted surgery, but made his return for 8 minutes off the bench against Frosinone.

“He is physically and mentally fine, probably doesn’t have that many minutes in his legs, so the doubt was whether to use him as a substitute or play him from the start so he could get back into the swing of things,” added De Rossi.

“If he had been on the bench, then we knew he’d have to come on and use up a substitution slot, so we just went for it. He is very happy to be back, we are very happy to have him and he’ll have a great game.”

Lukaku gets a rare rest, as Sardar Azmoun and Paulo Dybala start upfront for the Giallorossi.

“He played practically all the time, so a bit of rest is required sometimes. Serdar has played well when called upon, so we are confident.”

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