Sunday February 21 2016
Spalletti: 'I had to drop Totti'

Luciano Spalletti revealed why he “had to” send Francesco Totti home. “You must have respect for everyone.”

The day started amid chaos with captain Totti frozen out following critical comments in a television interview, but ended with a 5-0 victory – their fifth Serie A win in a row to maintain fourth place.

“Tonight was an impeccable performance. There’s always the danger of a drop in mentality after a Champions League match, but they played really well, recharged the batteries and gave everything,” Spalletti told Mediaset Premium.

“The whole situation is in the past. We all intend to come back together tomorrow. He was in the stands to watch the game, went to the locker room to salute the players and will be training with us tomorrow.

“It was just a moment of anger and discomfort that is understandable in certain respects. If the greatest post-war player like him makes these comments, it turns into a big deal.

“I was going to play him tonight, as I said so in the Press conference yesterday. If I had said he was going to play and then didn’t, he’d have flung missiles at me, not verbal jabs!

“Based on what emerged from his comments, and the fact that all over the media there was only talk about this, I thought there was the danger of it affecting concentration after a Champions League game.

“I had asked him nicely, like a father, to help the transition from one fixture to another. There are roles. It might be abnormal, but this is how things are done here.

“If you treat one player in a certain way, you have to treat everyone equally, even if that player is Francesco Totti. I could not do otherwise.

“It’s true he is a great champion and I must have respect for him, but I must also have respect for all the players in the squad. Otherwise someone can just call a Press conference and say whatever he likes at any stage – that’s no way to behave.”

Edin Dzeko bagged a brace, but also missed an astonishing opportunity in front of an open goal.

“We started the game badly and I feel Dzeko’s goal really changed things. I was looking at him and he was positively distraught at missing such an easy chance. His head dropped, he looked only at the floor, but that goal so soon afterwards shook him up.

“We are a strong side on the counter, but we still don’t seem to realise when to control possession and when to charge forward.

“Our objective is to win when we play a game. The one after is only important if you’ve won the previous game, therefore the current one is fundamental.

“We’ve had a good run of victories, but there are others who have done better and so we must carry on. They others still have petrol in the tank.”

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