Luiz Felipe Scolari is anticipating a “beautiful” game when Roma visit Chelsea – despite the Italian side’s recent poor run form.
Roma’s 4-0 home loss to Internazionale on Sunday left them 14th in Serie A, but Scolari has been impressed by Roma’s flair and technical ability.
“Roma play like us, with a lot of touches of the ball,” the Chelsea manager said. “The players try to play, they don’t just hit the ball forward, and I believe this will be a beautiful game.”
Scolari has been enjoying the plaudits this season both for the way in which his side have played, but he admitted that the winning games is more important than playing attractive football.
“It’s nice for me [to hear this praise] but it’s down to the players,” the coach said. “They are doing a good job and it’s nice for them, as well as for me, that people like the way we play. But I want to say something to the Chelsea fans – we play beautiful football but we need three points every game. Sometimes it’s not possible to play beautiful football and, in that case, we have to get the three points because otherwise it is difficult to arrive in the finals in May.”
Petr Cech, Ricardo Carvalho and Deco all missed Saturday’s 5-0 win over Middlesbrough, but the trio may be fit for duty tonight.
Roma also have injury concerns but more worrying is a sequence of two wins from seven league games this season. They also lost at home to CFR Cluj on Matchday 1, so a defeat here would leave them with just three points and put their qualifying prospects in jeopardy.
Coach Luciano Spalletti remains hopeful, though. “We need to fight for the 50-50 balls, get back behind the ball and squeeze space,” he said. “I still have high hopes that we can get results in the group.”
On Sunday Francesco Totti made his first Serie A start since undergoing knee surgery in April and is expected to play tonight, while Philippe Mexès and Christian Panucci should also return to the heart of the defence after suspension.
However, centre-back Juan suffered a muscle strain at the weekend, Simone Perrotta has high temperature as well as carrying a knock, and fellow midfielder David Pizarro hurt his left ankle in training.
“We know it’s going to be tough because Chelsea are one of the best teams in the world and they have one of the best managers,” Spalletti added. “We have to roll up our sleeves, work in the right way and then things will turn for us.”