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Prandelli: ‘Commisso very, very angry’

Cesare Prandelli admits Fiorentina President Rocco Commisso was ‘disappointed and very, very angry’ ahead of their match with Roma.

It kicks off on Wednesday at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.

The mood in the Viola camp is downbeat after a 1-0 defeat to Udinese left them in the danger zone.

“In football, every three days we seem to go from a paradoxical situation to a rebirth and back again,” complained Prandelli in his press conference.

“Now we need to be clear and honest. The owners are investing, planning, and cannot do more than that. I spoke to the President, he was very disappointed and very, very angry. We shared certain ideas and agreed the team needs to give more and it’s my responsibility to improve this squad. He has not lost his enthusiasm, though.

“We are facing Roma tomorrow, we must not go into it thinking we are some sacrificial lamb. We have to overcome difficulties and not just accept them.

“We made a few too many mistakes lately and we need to fight to the final whistle, on every ball. This is our reality, we have to believe in ourselves.

“There is respect for Roma, but not fear. Even the biggest clubs can drop points in any fixture. Roma will take the initiative tomorrow, we mustn’t be presumptuous about that. We just need the determination to score when we have the chance.”

When Prandelli was asked about Roma coach Paulo Fonseca following the home defeat to Milan, he was again critical of media pressure.

“This coach is quietly doing great things and going along his own path. He adapted to the characteristics of his players and has them well-organised.”

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Smalling returns for Roma

Roma have Chris Smalling back in the squad to face Fiorentina, but Roger Ibanez and Edin Dzeko are still out of action.

It kicks off on Wednesday at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.

Paulo Fonseca still has some problems to deal with, as Ibanez, Davide Santon, Dzeko, Riccardo Calafiori and Nicolò Zaniolo are on the treatment table.

However, Marash Kumbulla was available on the bench against Milan at the weekend and could start, while Smalling returns to the squad too.

Roma squad for Fiorentina: Pau Lopez, Mirante, Fuzato; Karsdorp, Juan Jesus, Smalling, Fazio, Mancini, Kumbulla, Peres, Spinazzola; Cristante, Pellegrini, Villar, Veretout, Pastore, Diawara, Mkhitaryan; Pedro, Mayoral, Perez, El Shaarawy

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Pioli: ‘Romagnoli? They are simply choices’

Milan coach Stefano Pioli confirmed Rafael Leao will start up front against Udinese and defended his decision to leave out Alessio Romagnoli last time. ‘You can’t always have the same ideas’.

The Rossoneri are without injured Hakan Calhanoglu and Zlatan Ibrahimovic against the Friuli, but Pioli wants to see continuity after the 2-1 win over Roma last time.

“The numbers speak for themselves, unfortunately without fans, it’s not so decisive playing at home or away,” Pioli said at a press conference.

“There are more and more away wins that in the previous years, clearly playing in their own stadium can give advantages.

“Tomorrow will be an important match, Udinese are an organised team that put us under pressure in the first leg.

“We will need a great performance.”

Pioli excluded captain Alessio Romagnoli last time and was asked if it could happen again.

“The matches are all important, but also different,” he said. “For me, it’s unfortunate to be spoilt for choice.

“Only tomorrow, we will try the starting line-up. I will choose the one who is better off. We arrive from a beautiful win, let’s give continuity to our results.”

Rafael Leao has only scored five goals in 19 Serie A games, but the coach defends the 21-year-old centre-forward.

“You are very good at finding the negative things,” Pioli said. “A few weeks ago, we were talking about a Rafael Leao who as decisive.

“Tomorrow he will have the opportunity to start. He doesn’t need to be pampered or helped, because he’s ready.”

Zlatan suffered a muscle injury against Roma and will participate at Sanremo this week.

“Zlatan is our champion, but the leader must be our game, as we demonstrated last Sunday,” the coach continued.

“If we play like this, we can do well even without Ibrahimovic and Calhanoglu. We have many players who can be decisive.”

On Sunday, Milan bounced back from two defeats against Spezia and Inter in Serie A and Pioli said the Rossoneri only focus on themselves and not the Scudetto battle.

“I would have been surprised if Ibra had said something different in the press conference,” Pioli said about Milan’s chances of winning the League.

“It’s right that he says certain things. We have to focus only on ourselves. We have to win as many games as possible and play our football.

“We are satisfied with the match in Rome. It’s the decisive moment of the season, we remain focused and try to get the most out of it.

“Then we will see what position we will be in.”

Milan went four games without a win and scraped through on away goals in the Europa League and Pioli said the ‘great team spirit’ helped them against the Giallorossi.

“The last few weeks have allowed us to change certain things,” he said. “The team believed in what they were doing and were putting their habits into play.

“In Rome there was a great team spirit. We must continue like this.”

Pioli said Sanremo finishes too late for him to watch Ibrahimovic perform in the music festival.

“Ibra is an extra weapon for us, but the fact that the team did well without him, it means we have some qualities,” Pioli said about the Swede’s absence.

“Tonight, I will watch Juventus-Spezia. I spoke to Ibrahimovic. Unfortunately, Sanremo finished too late for me.”

The coach said he spoke to Romagnoli about the exclusion from the line-up and confirmed that Ante Rebic available tomorrow.

“Only you talk about failures, for me they are simply choices,” Pioli said. “I talked to him.

“You can’t always have the same ideas, but the important thing is respect.

“Rebic is fine, tomorrow morning he can prepare and play against Udinese. On Sunday, he played a great game.

“His characteristics are important for us. There are no doubts about his qualities.”

Pioli said Mario Mandzukic and Ismael Bennacer are recovering but will ‘work separately this week’.

“They are progressing in the individual work. This week they work separately,” he revealed. “I hope to get some good news this week and that they can be available.”

Milan responded to the criticism after the defeats to Spezia and Inter.

“In my opinion, we have the opportunity to demonstrate that the extraordinary thing was the two weeks we didn’t play well,” he said.

“It can happen when a team plays so often and was not used to maintaining certain rhythms. We must show that we are a team that have an important growth path.

“We are not dwelling on the past. What we do from tomorrow and onwards will be decisive.”

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Fonseca: ‘Roma suffer from our own mistakes’

Roma coach Paulo Fonseca said Borja Mayoral ‘will play’ against Fiorentina and said the Giallorossi must ‘avoid making mistakes in the build-up’.

The Giallorossi are back in action against Fiorentina tomorrow, as they aim to bounce back from the defeat to Milan last weekend.

With only two wins in their last five Serie A games, Fonseca admitted the team has struggled defensively in recent weeks.

“The team suffered more than we wanted, that’s the truth,” Fonseca said at a press conference. “But how many big chances did Milan create?

“The team were balanced, the problem is that we create problems for ourselves. It’s not the defensive organisation.

“We make mistakes, we lose balls, mistakes in the build-up. Errors that we have made in other games too.

“It’s not about organisation but about decisions, losing the ball in the build-up play. Someone might say, why do we play like this then, if we get it wrong.

“If there’s pressure, you need to understand whether to play or not to play.

“Against Milan we made a mistake, you can’t make a mistake like this, but I’s not a problem of defensive organisation and not only the defence, but the attack too.

“We are working to better understand these moments that allow our opponents to create chances.”

Fonseca then confirmed Chris Smalling will be called-up, but that Marash Kumbulla will start against Fiorentina.

“Kumbulla is ready and will play,” he said. “Smalling will be called up, but he’s not in the best condition.”

Reports in Italy have suggested that Fonseca could play with Henrikh Mkhitaryan as a false nine, but the coach quashed the rumours and confirmed that Borja Mayoral plays against the Viola.

“He will play,” he said. “We have many games, that’s true.

“In the Europa League we have made a lot of changes, but with so many problems in defence, it’s difficult to manage [Rick] Karsdorp, [Leonardo] Spinazzola, [Bryan] Cristante and [Gianluca] Mancini.

“We will change two or three players tomorrow.

“Italian football is difficult for all strikers. He [Borja Mayoral] is young and he’s coming now. If Borja scores, it’s all good. When he doesn’t, he’s bad.

“I can see things in that way. It’s also true for [Edin] Dzeko: if he scores, it’s OK. If he doesn’t, it’s not good.”

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Mirante to replace Paul Lopez again?

According to Sky Sport Italia, Antonio Mirante could replace Pau Lopez against Fiorentina on Wednesday.

Pau Lopez gave it away cheaply to Alexis Saelemaekers, allowing Ante Rebic to score the winner in the second half of Roma-Milan on Sunday.

It was not the only mistake of the night for the Spaniard who can be replaced by Antonio Mirante on Wednesday when Roma face Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi.

Mirante, a former Parma goalkeeper, has already replaced Pau Lopez at the beginning of the season.

The 37-year-old played 11 of Roma’s opening 14 Serie A games before picking up a biceps femoris injury.

Mirante’s contract expires at the end of the season and Milan have been linked with securing his services as a free agent.

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