Roma’s Diego Perotti and Radja Nainggolan fit enough to face Juventus

Corriere dello Sport (Guido D’Ubaldo) The future in 270 minutes. Roma will be playing for theirs over the next 3 games, the last with Spalletti on the bench. But the coach wants to leave having accomplished something very important to the club: finishing second, which has been in the balance for the last few weeks after seeming certain in October. The third last game of the season will be crucial, with Torino hosting Napoli and Roma hosting Juventus. If Napoli don’t beat Mihajlovic’s team, the Giallorossi can even afford to lose against the Bianconeri after having picked up 6 points in the last 2 games. But Sarri’s team are in great form and Roma need to avoid taking any risks and aim to pick up 3 points. In order to do that, Spalletti is going to have to cobble together a starting 11. But he is hoping to have both Nainggolan and Perotti back, who picked up injuries last Sunday evening in San Siro. Strootman will be absent as he serves the second match of his suspension, as will Dzeko, who picked up a muscular injury against Milan. The coach will be forced to reshuffle his midfield and attack, but Rudiger will be back in defence, allowing Roma to have their first choice back 4 again with the German on the right, Manolas and Fazio in the centre, and Emerson Palmieri in his natural position at left back. De Rossi and Paredes will be in central midfield again, just like in San Siro, where the Argentine had an excellent game. Nainggolan should play as a trequartista in the 4-2-3-1 formation, with Perotti playing as a false 9 in Spalletti’s striker-less attack. Last season, this striker-less attack revitalised Roma and spurred them on to finish 3rd.

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Dzeko will try to be fit enough for a place on the bench, to give Spalletti the option of bringing him on up front in an emergency. Perotti’s ankle swelling has gone down, and yesterday both he and Nainggolan were running again. Today’s training session will be critical, when both players will be giving their all to get back to full fitness. But they are confident that they will be playing on Sunday evening. Perotti will probably need heavy strapping on his ankle. Nainggolan is used to playing through pain and has done so many times in the past – moreover, these games have a special meaning for him. His condition has improved, and there should be no doubts that he will be out on the pitch. Juve have never been just any other opponent for him, and he doesn’t want to lose the head to head against his friend Pjanic, who will be returning to the Olimpico for the first time as an opposition player. The two still see each other regularly, but they are rivals on the pitch.

Stephan El Shaarawy has been revitalised by his goal against Milan, and wants to make the most of his chance to start again on Sunday. “We’re much more motivated after beating Milan, but we don’t need anything else to encourage us – the last few games of the season are always important and we know that we’ll be facing the team who are probably the best around at the moment. We’ll be working a lot on the tactical aspects, we want to win this game to keep hold of 2nd place, which will be very important to us. We have to keep tensions high.” It will be a decisive match in the head to head with Napoli for 2nd place: “We’re a point ahead, so we’ve done a bit better than them so far, but they are an excellent team and perhaps play the best football in Italy.”

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