Dzeko: ‘Morata can rest…’

Edin Dzeko hopes Alvaro Morata “is rested” as Roma visit Chelsea in the Champions League and celebrates his 100th Giallorossi game.

It kicks off on Wednesday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

“I feel in good shape and am in an important moment of form. I’m happy with the goals I scored last season and in this, but I have to thank the team for that,” said the Bosnian striker in his Press conference.

“I mustn’t stop now, but work even harder and try to do even better. I am very happy to be in the 30-man short-list for the Ballon d’Or.

“I think Chelsea only lost to Crystal Palace because the Premier League is very tough. We know that we’ll be facing a side that is angry and a Coach that will motivate them to the max, but we’ll focus on ourselves.

“I’ve never scored against Chelsea and I feel motivated, but then I always want to score a goal and help my team. Chelsea are one of the strongest sides I have faced that I haven’t yet scored against, so that’s an extra reason to find the net.”

Dzeko was asked which player he would remove from the Chelsea squad for this game.

“If I could, I’d take at least five off. The team is full of top players. Alvaro Morata did well to adapt to the Premier League quickly. It’s better for us if he doesn’t play and rests for the next match.

“I am personally proud to reach 100 appearances in a Roma jersey and after my first season, nobody thought that was possible! I am happy to have remained here and hope we can celebrate it with a good result.”

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EDF: ‘Different Roma at Chelsea’

Eusebio Di Francesco wants “a different approach” from Roma against Chelsea in the Champions League after the defeat to Napoli.

It kicks off on Wednesday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

This trip to Stamford Bridge comes days after a 1-0 Serie A defeat to Napoli in Serie A.

“We certainly want a different approach. The lads know that, realising Chelsea will already be ferociously motivated after losing to Crystal Palace, who are propping up the Premier League table,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“There are two teams facing off on the field and I look at mine. We’ll try to approach it the best way.”

Kostas Manolas, Patrik Schick, Gregoire Defrel and Emerson Palmieri are out injured, while Stephan El Shaarawy and Kevin Strootman return.

“We are talking about a match against Napoli where we started off badly, but then the team reacted really well. I don’t think the gap is so large between Roma and Napoli, so that has to give us strength, despite the result and hitting the woodwork yet again.

“I have the option to make changes and I’ll see what to do, but I certainly won’t tell you now.”

The Giallorossi got stuck in traffic on the road from Stansted Airport, so decided not to have a training session at Stamford Bridge this evening.

“I do not feel any particularly pressure. I hear everyone talking about everything, because that’s what it’s like at Roma. If I was to ask my team to settle for a point here, it would be a huge mistake. We’ll try to win, albeit knowing that we are facing a very strong opponent.

“I think this is an opportunity to respond to Saturday’s defeat and my players will do their best. Every player has his own psychological, technical and physical qualities. They have to be combined.

“We’ll try to run and keep a high tempo, but mentality could make the difference.”

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Dzeko: ‘Roma must give more’

Edin Dzeko urged Roma to “all give something more” against Chelsea in the Champions League, but “right now Napoli are stronger than we are.”

It kicks off on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), just days after a 1-0 Serie A home defeat to Napoli.

“We hope for a great game, for me and the team. Our last performance was not the best and I think we all could’ve given something more, but tomorrow is another big match and we will all give more,” the striker told Mediaset Premium.

“I wasn’t isolated up front. We all should’ve done more, including myself, but Napoli are right now a stronger side than we are. We have to admit that. It’s in the past and we have to focus on Chelsea.

“Chelsea are missing players, so are we, and we’ve got to just make the best of it. Chelsea won the Premier League last season, which is not easy, so it won’t be simple for us tomorrow either.

“We too have strong players and will give it our best.”

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Sarri: ‘Serie A should protect Napoli’

Maurizio Sarri criticises the Serie A fixture planners for scheduling Roma-Napoli before both sides face a big Champions League game.

The Partenopei are in England to face Manchester City tomorrow, while the Giallorossi take on Chelsea in London on Wednesday.

Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis suggested there could be changes, to save legs for the Serie A campaign, and the Coach isn’t happy with how the fixtures have fallen.

“I don’t know what the President said,” Sarri shrugged, speaking to Premium Sport after this evening’s Press conference.

“If it’s a technical question then I’m not interested beyond the fact he pays me to make decisions.

“I don’t think there are changes to be made based on more or less important games at this stage, we’ll only know later how important they are.

“Let’s see who is in shape and go into it without making too many calculations at this stage of the season, we could make changes in this one or the next one.

“It’s unfortunate that those who play in Europe aren’t considered by those who draw up the formula for the fixtures.

“Putting Roma-Napoli just three days before City-Napoli and four days before Chelsea-Roma seems like a shocking mistake.

“Before the last game of the group we face Juventus. It could be a decisive game for us, but I don’t know about Juventus because they could already be through.

“If we’re representing Italian football all over Europe, then Italian football could protect us a bit as they do in other countries.”

Sarri was asked if he’d take a draw tomorrow.

“I wouldn’t sign up for anything, though even when we prepared the matches against Real Madrid they didn’t give me the impression that this City do.

“It’s difficult for us, maybe even impossible, but we’ll come here to play with very little pressure on us, but knowing that if we lack application and dedication we could be overwhelmed.

“This is the game which matters least for qualification, City are a team who should win all their matches in this group.

“The big matches will come afterward for us, but it’s clear that if one of the other teams can take points off City it will give them a big advantage.

“It’ll be difficult for everyone though.”

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Totti: Zidane & Buffon the best

Roma icon Francesco Totti believes Zinedine Zidane and Gianluigi Buffon have been the best Coach and goalkeeper of the past year.

Totti was quizzed about The Best FIFA Awards by the governing body’s official website, which sees Zidane go up against Antonio Conte and Max Allegri for Best Coach, while Buffon is expected to engage in a two-way battle with Keylor Navas for Best Goalkeeper

“Neymar, Ronaldo and Messi? First of all, we are talking about three footballing aliens,” the No 10-turned-director explained to FIFA.com.

“I must say that we always respected each other on and off the field. But I think that, in the end, Ronaldo is ahead of the others.

“He had an amazing season and also accomplished all of his goals with the most prestigious of teams.”

“It’s fair to say that our coaching school is still top quality. Despite the extraordinary job of Conte and Allegri, I think Zidane is the favourite for the same reasons as Cristiano Ronaldo: he won everything the last season.

“Goalkeepers have a huge impact on the game, although they aren’t recognised as they should be. Their impact in the final result for the team is always decisive.

“I think Gianluigi Buffon has a very good chance of winning it. He’s been the best individually, but also his team reached the Champions League Final – same as Keylor Navas. In the end, I think the two of them will be competing for it.”

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