Roma coach Paulo Fonseca hopes to have ‘tired’ Edin Dzeko available against Brescia, but is forced to make changes due to the one-match bans for Bryan Cristante and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The press conference started with a look at the Europa League draw, but Fonseca wanted to focus on the task at hand before looking at the potential future opponents in the competition.
“At the moment they’re all difficult opponents. We can’t think about it, first we have to face Sevilla, then, if we win, we’ll see,” Fonseca said at a press conference.
“We are working to have [Chris] Smalling in the Europa League, I’m confident.”
Chris Smalling will not travel to Brescia for Saturday’s match, staying at Trigoria with Davide Santon.
Bryan Cristante and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are out suspended but Fonseca revealed he will continue with the same formation and hopes to be able to call on Edin Dzeko again.
“We will play with three in defence, [Federico] Fazio will replace [Bryan] Cristante.
“We will see about Dzeko. We can’t forget that he played the last two games and there are few days to recover. I talked to him yesterday and he was a bit tired. I would like to speak to him again, to decide.”
Aleksandar Kolarov could be another option at the back.
“Like I said, Fazio will play tomorrow. I think Kolarov can play in this position, as he has done it in the past.”
Fonseca claimed the influential attacking midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini has the potential to ‘improve further’.
“I’m never satisfied, but I have complete confidence in Pellegrini,” he added. “You know I like him a lot.
“He’s a young player who must improve, we can’t forget that he was injured during the season. But I think he can improve further.”
Fonseca think the physical and mental condition goes hand in hand and pointed out that Justin Kluivert can work his way back in contention for tomorrow’s match.
“All aspects are important. If we are physically well, then we are also mentally and tactically well. They are all connected.
“I can’t say that the preparation is worth 100 per cent or the head is 20 per cent. They are all connected.
“Excluding Bruno Peres was a technical decision and I didn’t like Kluivert during the training session ahead of Parma.
“I spoke to him and he was not called up. I think Justin reacted well. If he trains well today, he could be an option for tomorrow.”
The Portuguese tactician claimed Javier Pastore, Cengiz Under, Kluivert, Carles Perez and Diego Perotti are all candidates to take Mkhitaryan’s place tomorrow and said Nicolò Zaniolo might get another chance during the match.
“They are all players who can play in Mkhitaryan’s position tomorrow. On Zaniolo, I have always said that he has been a long time out.
“We must choose the right time to give him more minutes. For me, the team come first. If there’s a chance, he will play some more.”
Kolarov has not played the last two games and Fonseca highlighted that Leonardo Spinazzola has kept him out of the team.
“Spinazzola has been picked and he played two good games. If I start with Kolarov tomorrow, I know he is ready because he works with quality and is ready.
Roma come from a good experience against Parma but struggled to make the most of their opportunities even then.
“We must understand how the opponents play. Parma defend well near the box and with many players. It’s not easy to find space.
“I must say that we have to improve two aspects: the occupation of spaces and the final decision.”
He will try to make as few changes as possible against Brescia but is forced to amend due to suspensions and injuries. Jordan Veretout has impressed in the middle, but Fonseca stresses that no players are irreplaceable.
“We won’t have Cristante and Mkhitaryan. I don’t want to make too many changes. We have Dzeko’s situation at stake and we must understand if he will be ready or not.
“No one is irreplaceable, and not only at Roma, but in all the squads. Veretout is in a great moment and is playing very well, with confidence. He’s a very important player.”