Spalletti says it's 'essential' Roma start to show true colours
Luciano Spalletti believes Roma and Inter Milan both enter Sunday's game determined to show their true colours after an uneven start to the season.
The two traditional Italian giants are near the top of the table after the first six games of the season, but have yet to show the consistency that most agree is required for a successful season.
Spalletti believes Sunday's game at the Stadio Olimpico, one of the first big games of the campaign for both sides, is a chance for the Giallorossi to start to address that missing ingredient.
"So far, we've not really given a strong indication of what we're about," Spalletti told reporters. "I think we could say the same thing about Inter.
"In the game tomorrow, it's essential the we play well and show what level this team is on. We need to do that by playing as a collective, being able to react to situations in the game, and then making the right choices.
"I'd say we've trained well recently and that we're on the right track. We need to concentrate on what we can improve and obviously take our opponents into consideration. Inter are a strong side, just like Roma, and sooner or later they'll show just how good they are. We need to be alert."
Inter appointed coach Frank de Boer on the eve of the new season, and already the Dutchman has dealt with his share of headlines and controversies - especially following Europa League defeats to Hapoel Be'er Sheva and Sparta Prague.
"He's a serious and professional person," Spalletti said of his opposite number. "Inter will have picked him for a reason. He needs to be left to do his work, he's got going now and I really think he'll show his worth.
"He's already shown character by making tough decisions. I'm sure he'll show just how good he is. There are some projects in football that need time, just like his, and can only be truly assessed in the long-term, over eight or 10 months.
"But here in Italy, the media need to produce daily news which in a way goes against the way that we, logically, should assess the work of a manager."
Roma have started the season in prolific goalscoring fashion but have also been open at the back. Not that Spalletti is fixating on that issue.
"There are actions and stats which people don't care to think about," he noted. "We have the obvious figures like ball possession, goals, assists. But there are a number of other ones that you perhaps aren't familiar with, or aren't so interested in, which actually give a good idea of how balanced the team is.
"Doubling up on opponents, closing down of passing lanes, the number of times getting in behind the defensive line. There are numbers that newspapers don't pick up, but are very important when you look at a game.
"Many don't look at the match away from the ball, which is equally as important. Everyone is attracted to the ball."