Paulo Fonseca used his pre-match press conference to name Roma’s starting XI to face Juventus, while denying Edin Dzeko refused to come on against Verona.
Dzeko remained a substitute at Verona as he was on the verge of joining Juve, but the striker is now staying put after the move fell through and the Bianconeri re-signed Alvaro Morata instead.
“As long as nothing happens between now and the game, here are the players who will start tomorrow: Mirante, Santon, Mancini, Ibanez, Kumbulla, Spinazzola, Pellegrini, Veretout, Mkhitaryan, Pedro and Dzeko,” Fonseca said at a press conference.
“Bruno Peres only started training with us this week, so he’s not yet ready to start this game. Karsdorp trained on his own yesterday but he’s not ready either.
“I’ve spoken to Edin Dzeko a few times, he’s very motivated. He’s trained very well this week and he will start tomorrow. It’s not true [that he refused to come on].
“We don’t want to change our identity just because we’re facing Juve. We want to press high, but we also want to be balanced.
“Juve are very strong, so we need to be balanced. We’ll only press when we have the chance.
“With [Lorenzo] Pellegrini, we can break quicker and have an extra man supporting the attack.
“Juve have a young coach with a great future. They are a more dynamic team now, with different trends to their play. I like them a lot. They press hard, mainly out wide.
The coach’s position has reportedly come under threat since Dan Friedkin’s takeover, so what is his rapport with the American like?
“Since they arrived, I’ve spoken with the new ownership regularly. We are all working hard to build a stronger side.
“The target is clear – we want to do better than we did last season. From the first game of last year to the one against Verona, I can say that the team are better now.”
Chris Smalling continues to be linked with a return to Roma, but Fonseca refused to comment.
“I’m totally focused on tomorrow’s match, I don’t want to talk about the transfer market, 24 hours before such a big game.
“It’s a difficult, important game, which we’ve worked a lot on. I believe in the players. We just have to think about Juventus.”
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