Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Roma coach Luciano Spalletti has urged his players to remain upbeat ahead of their Champions League Group F encounter with Sporting. After a strong start to the season, the Rome club’s form has dipped recently, conceding eight goals in their last two Serie A games at the home and slipping to fourth place.
“We like to attack,” said Spallettii. “Maybe it’s a philosophy more common in foreign leagues than the Italian, but just because we haven’t been ourselves for the last two or three matches, I don’t think we should panic and change the way we have been playing for more than two years.”
“We have to pay more attention to the defensive side of things. It’s true we are conceding too many goals and that produces anxiety,” added Spalletti.
“It’s easy to change when things aren’t going well. We could change the lineup and the formation. We could play more physically and put men behind the ball, but we need to confront the problems and not run away from them.”
Having launched their European campaign with a comfortable 2-0 home win against Dynamo Kyiv, Roma then went down by the only goal at Old Trafford against group leaders Manchester United, leaving the group finely poised.
“These next two matches will be decisive,” Spalletti said. “Tuesday will be difficult because Sporting are an attacking side that know how to play football, but playing at home the onus is on us.”
Sporting, looking for a second successive away victory following their 2-1 triumph at Dynamo Kyiv on Matchday 2, were unable to train at the Stadio Olimpico on Monday after the late arrival of their flight.
“It’s not ideal preparation because it’s an important game and we haven’t been able to train, but it shouldn’t make a difference to the result,” said coach Paulo Bento.
“Roma are not your average Italian team. They press from the front, are balanced, technically adept, have quick players and elaborate their attack through Francesco Totti.
“Our objective is to win in Rome but our second goal is to stop them taking three points.
Bento will make several changes from the team that lost the first leg of a Portuguese League Cup tie at home to second-division CD Fátima at the weekend.