Spalletti: We won't think about the derby until after the Empoli game
Luciano Spalletti has insisted his squad will not be distracted by the upcoming derby against Lazio, as they prepare to return to Serie A action on Saturday.
The Giallorossi host Empoli in an important league meeting at the Stadio Olimpico, just three days before they are due to host Lazio in the return leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final.
That game will naturally attract a lot of attention, as Spalletti's men look to overturn a 2-0 deficit, but the coach insists his players will not be distracted from the job in hand.
"No. Not for me anyway," Spalletti said. "I know the result against Empoli could have a bearing on our match against Lazio. I'm thinking about nothing but tomorrow because I know that's the best way to prepare for our game on Tuesday.
"The derby may seem more important on paper but if we want to go into it in good form we have to beat Empoli first.
"There must be no distractions: we're fully focused on tomorrow."
The coach gave an update on the availability of some of his players, with a number having returned from international duty over the past two weeks.
"They're all in good shape except Daniele [De Rossi], who's got this back problem, but the main thing is that the scans showed no serious issues," Spalletti added. "He's already looking a bit better today and we'll keep a close eye on him. However, I think it's unlikely he'll be available tomorrow.
"All the others trained well yesterday so I have good reason to be confident. Of course some of them are feeling a bit of fatigue from the matches and travelling they've done, so we'll need to assess everything carefully."