Daniele De Rossi insists Roma ‘must qualify’ for the Europa League Round of 16 ‘with or without’ goals from Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku.

Dybala has scored three goals in five games under De Rossi, while Lukaku has netted twice in six matches with DDR in charge.

Both strikers will start tomorrow in the second leg of the Europa League knockout playoff against Feyenoord at the Stadio Olimpico. The first leg in The Netherlands ended with a 1-1 draw last week.

Speaking about Dybala and Lukaku at a pre-match press conference on Wednesday, De Rossi said: “I think that players’ performances must be assessed beyond their goals. They fit my playing style and I am happy with them. We must qualify with or without Dybala and Lukaku’s goals.

“Aside from tomorrow’s game, every team need all the players. They will play and they will be important for us. People always expect special moves from them, I only want Roma to go through. They just need to be involved in the game as they’ve done already, and perhaps somebody else will score the goals.”

De Rossi was also asked if he expected something different from Roma’s opponents.

“If they recover those two or three players they didn’t have the other time, they’ll surely have more quality,” the coach replied, as quoted by TMW.

“There’s no gap between these two teams. I don’t think it will be strange to see a game similar to the first leg.”

The Stadio Olimpico will be sold out tomorrow: “It’s something that does not leave us indifferent. It’s an extra responsibility for us,” noted De Rossi.

Evan N’Dicka will be available after returning from AFCON, and the same is true of Chris Smalling, who returned to the pitch on Sunday in a 3-0 win over Frosinone. The ex-Manchester United defender had been out of action since September.

“Ndicka is okay but has only trained once since returning because of the flu. He won’t be fully fit, but he’ll go on the bench and help us,” said De Rossi.

As for Smalling, “My only objective was to make him play a few minutes, and I needed a defensive change. He has played in three and four-man defence in his career, I don’t think he’ll have problems.”

 

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