The Italian acknowledges that his in-form charges face an uphill battle in their attempts to reach the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of the Spaniards
Luciano Spalletti has challenged Roma to seize the initiative as they look to overturn a 2-0 deficit in the second leg of their last 16 Champions League tie against Real Madrid.
The in-form Serie A side conceded two second-half goals in the first leg at the Stadio Olimpico, leaving them facing a tall order in the return fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
Spalletti, who feels his side were better than the 2-0 scoreline in Italy reflected, says his players must start the better in Madrid if they’re to stand any of chance of completing the “impossible” by advancing through to the last eight ahead of Real.
“I’m asking my team to do the impossible,” he conceded. “The way they are training allows me to ask that question.
“We must not be weak mentally and play to lose. If anyone thinks like that with me, they won’t even train.
“The result from the first leg was harsh on us seeing how we performed. We were unlucky in individual moments.
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“Tomorrow we must be able to choose when to attack or hold off. We must be convinced when taking the initiative.”
Roma’s need for goals on the night could see Spalletti turn to Edin Dzeko, who started the first leg against Real amongst the subsitutes.
But Spalletti has hinted that the Manchester City loanee could be given the chance to impress from the get go tomorrow after netting two goals in his last three appearances for Roma.
“He’s doing his work in the right way,” Spalletti added. “I made some choices and they were down to me, not his performances. The team played good football, so the choices weren’t totally wrong.
“He has different characteristics from the recent tactical choices. Thinking about this match and the advantage that Real Madrid have, Dzeko has more chance of helping us given what our approach will be.”