Vincenzo Montella prepares for his first Rome derby as a Coach and puts his foot down. “We need to win back our fans.”
Roma are still reeling from their Champions League exit to Shakhtar Donetsk, falling 3-0 with Philippe Mexes sent off and Daniele De Rossi facing a ban.
“This is an important derby for our position in the table and the same goes for Lazio,” commented Montella, who is still unbeaten in Serie A since replacing Claudio Ranieri.
“For us, though, it is key because we need to win back our fans. The team understood the mistakes made in Donetsk and is in good shape.”
That includes the row between David Pizarro and Marco Borriello over who would take a penalty.
“I am changing strategy from today. I'll say before the game who is the designated penalty taker and if someone doesn't feel ready, they have to tell me and then I will decide who should step up. It's a bit like dealing with children.”
Montella also caused controversy in Donetsk by leaving captain Francesco Totti on the bench throughout the match.
“Totti is in great shape physically and I am counting on him. I hope he can break his drought in the derby, as he hasn't scored in a while, but his exclusion in Donetsk was purely tactical.
“It has been a difficult week, but I think I've managed to keep the team calm. Lazio are bound to be the favourites, as they're ahead of us in the table, but there will be the usual fiery derby atmosphere.
“Perhaps as a player I felt the occasion of the derby a little more. A Coach tends to have more impact during the week than on match day.”
Totti and Mirko Vucinic have recovered from knocks, but Marco Cassetti is still unavailable and Matteo Brighi suspended.
Roma squad: Lobont, Julio Sergio, Doni; Castellini, Juan, Mexes, Loria, Riise, N Burdisso, Sabelli; Pizarro, Taddei, De Rossi, Perrotta, Greco, Simplicio, Menez, Caprari; Vucinic, Totti, Borriello, Pettinari