Paulo Fonseca confirmed Roma changes against “underestimated” Austrians Wolfsberger in the Europa League, including Nikola Kalinic getting his first start.
It kicks off on Thursday at 17.55 UK time (16.55 GMT) at the Stadion Graz Liebenau.
This is surprisingly a top of the group showdown, as Wolfsberg crushed Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0 away from home in their opening game, while Roma beat Istanbul Basaksehir by the same scoreline.
“Obviously, this is a quality team and the result does reflect the strength of their performance, as they are aggressive in defence and dangerous on the counter-attack,” said Fonseca in a Press conference.
“Wolfsberger are like the Atalanta of Austria, very physical, intensive, aggressive in the duels, who press when they lose the ball. They have been underestimated.”
Nonetheless, the Giallorossi will prioritise Serie A with their squad rotation.
“Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Dzeko need rest too, while with Lorenzo Pellegrini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan injured, some of the choices are forced upon us. There are other players who I have complete faith in.
“I will give you one concession on the line-up, as I can confirm Kalinic will start and allow Dzeko to rest. He is in good shape, but Davide Zappacosta is not yet capable of handling a full match.
“Chris Smalling has done well in his first two games, but he can improve in his positioning on the defensive line.”
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