Diego Lopez insists Cagliari are “motivated and ready for the perfect game” against Roma this afternoon.
The Stadio Sant’Elia hosts the Serie A fixture at 14.00 UK time (13.00 GMT), click here for a match preview.
Despite attempts to increase the capacity of the stadium in time for this tie, the local council has not yet handed over a security certificate, so only one stand with 5,000 people remains open.
“Roma are almost on the same level as Juventus,” said Coach Lopez in his Press conference.
“They play beautiful football with intensity and have quality all the way through the squad. There are no weak points, they pick up results everywhere with the mentality of a great team.
“Rudi Garcia settled in very well to Italian football, which is not easy for a foreign Coach, above all in the difficult moment Roma were going through when he arrived. He has done a wonderful job.”
Cagliari are something of a taboo, as the Giallorossi have not won on Sardinian soil for 19 years, since a 2-0 result in October 1995.
The fixture wasn’t actually played last season, as Roma were handed a 3-0 win by the authorities when President Massimo Cellino called for supporters to attend the game that was meant to be played behind closed doors, so it was cancelled amid security fears.
“We are highly motivated, as it’s one of those games where a Coach doesn’t even need to talk to his players,” continued Lopez.
“We must be aggressive, not just on the ball but off it too. If there’s a slow pass, it’s clear you are making life easier for your opponents. We need to steal the ball quickly and run at them.”
Radja Nainggolan returns to face his beloved former club, who he left in January.
“It will be a great duel with Daniele Dessena in midfield, especially on a physical level. At times this season we have played well without getting the points that we deserved. This means we are always forced to look over our shoulders.”
Matias Vecino is ruled out by a muscular injury along with Adryan, while Luca Rossettini is suspended.
Cagliari squad for Roma: Avramov, Silvestri; Astori, Avelar, Del Fabro, Murru, Oikonomou, Perico, Pisano; Cabrera, Conti, Cossu, Dessena, Ekdal, Eriksson, Tabanelli; Ibarbo, Ibraimi, Nenè, Pinilla, Sau
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