Spalletti: ‘Open Atalanta-Roma’

Luciano Spalletti expects “an open and attacking game” between Roma and Atalanta, but shrugs off the unusual start.

It kicks off on Sunday at 11.30 UK time (10.30 GMT), click here for a match preview.

“Norbert Gyomber, Iago Falque and Salih Ucan are out of action,” noted the Coach in his Press conference.

Luciano Spalletti expects “an open and attacking game” between Roma and Atalanta, but shrugs off the unusual start.

It kicks off on Sunday at 11.30 UK time (10.30 GMT), click here for a match preview.

“Norbert Gyomber, Iago Falque and Salih Ucan are out of action,” noted the Coach in his Press conference.

“We usually train at around midday, so this kick-off time is ideal for us. Since being in Russia with Zenit, I learned some things. We once played in Tomsk, Siberia, where it was a five-hour flight and a four-hour time difference. We played that game at 8am our time.

“That taught me you have to play at any hour, at any temperature, and that is something that we should get used to in Italy as well. There are TV requirements and we must be ready at any time.

“Atalanta are a side who try to use their characteristics and Edy Reja knows how to get the best out of his team. They have fast strikers who can cause problems down the wings, so it will be an open and attacking game.”

The Giallorossi are still in the hunt for second place, but were disappointed by a 1-1 draw with Bologna.

“Edin Dzeko is a strong player who had a moment of difficulty on Sunday, as he had this muscular problem, otherwise I would’ve started him. I probably will use him tomorrow, unless another situation develops.

“With Francesco Totti it depends on what kind of game we’re going into, but I keep him in consideration too.”

Italy announced they will test video replays to help referees during Serie A matches, but Spalletti has other ideas too.

“It’s absolutely right, finally. It’s only fair that the teams get what they truly deserve during a match. I’d add something else, which is the actual playing time you get on the pitch. I’d like five substitutions, plus one for the goalkeeper.

“It is right to see the strength of the whole squad and not just the choices you make at the start.”

Roma fans have been barred from travelling to Bergamo for tomorrow’s game due to safety concerns, as there is a bitter rivalry.

“It is damaging to play without our fans, but as we have a strong side, we have to win anyway – as we already have done several times this season.”

Napoli had Gonzalo Higuain’s four-match ban reduced to three on appeal, which means he’ll be available for the showdown with Roma.

“If I had a crucial player suspended, I would’ve focused more on telling the rest of the team they could win anyway. Whether Napoli have Higuain or not is irrelevant, we must show that we are at their level and even better.

“It would be a real sign of weakness if we sat here hoping that Higuain was missing. We want to face them at full strength, it’s more pleasurable that way.

“Did I speak to Napoli over the summer? I spoke to many clubs, but if I discuss that then I’m doing what my players shouldn’t be doing right now. The transfer gossip is constantly being whispered from friends, including things only you know and things only I know, rumours about the future and the past.

“The fact remains we’re here until June and the rest doesn’t matter. The club has the contract in hand, so the rest is irrelevant.”

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