Ranieri's press conference: "I'm expecting a tough game. Zaniolo is available, Dzeko should be okay"
RANIERI: I NEED ALL MY PLAYERS AT 100% FOR THIS RUN-IN
Coach Claudio Ranieri held his pre-match press conference on Friday morning at Trigoria, taking questions about the weekend trip to face Genoa.
With just four games remaining in Serie A this season, the Giallorossi travel to Liguria knowing they need to win to enhance their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League.
Sunday's game at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris gets underway at 18:00 local time.
Here is what the boss had to say...
Genoa are six points above the relegation zone - are you expecting a difficult game tomorrow?
"I'm expecting a tough game against Genoa - this is a team that have beaten Atalanta, Lazio and Juventus. We'll need to be super focused"
Edin Dzeko has trained separately in recent days. How is he?
"I've got two training sessions to make a call on that - I hope he's okay. He had a slight ankle sprain. Hopefully he trains as normal today and tomorrow"
Is Nicolo Zaniolo ready to go back in the starting line-up?
"He's ready and he's got a great deal to offer us but it's never going to be plain sailing in a player's first year. His inner strength and physicality are a real boost for him. He's ready and available."
Could Javier Pastore be a key contributor in the clash with Genoa?
"He's important - we've got four matches left and they're all tough in their own way. I need all my players at 100%. When they are, I've got more freedom to make choices. Those players who aren't involved shouldn't feel inferior or cast aside - what matters most is Roma, not individual egos. I need intelligence from my players - getting into the Champions League would be a victory for the whole club, regardless of who plays, but all the players will be crucial."
Where do you think Lorenzo Pellegrini is best - in central midfield or playing between the lines as a trequartista?
"He's developing as a player - he's young, very dynamic and comfortable getting round the pitch, with the ball at his feet and getting involved. The more he plays the more expertise he'll develop, which is something you need in midfield. He's very good wide in a midfield three - he gives me lots of options."
Patrik Schick isn't performing as he'd like. Is he in your plans, as he was when you arrived?
"He's no reserve. As I've said before, I think he's an excellent player. I've seen what his agent said and I agree. He's a player I believe in. Some players mature right away and others need more time, but he definitely has what it takes."
After the game in Ferrara, you said that things would need to be reorganised if Roma miss out on Champions League football for next season, while Francesco Totti said who the next coach is does not depend on Champions League qualification. Has something changed in the club's thinking?
"I came here to try and help the team, with the help of the fans. That is my objective. I'm focused on matters on the field, so anything beyond that is of no interest to me. I'm trying to do what has been asked of me, to the best of my ability. I've asked for help from the fans and they're giving me that. I hope that continues until the end of the season and then it'll no longer by my job."
Nine years ago, the Curva Nord [of Lazio fans] called on Lazio to step aside when they faced Inter, as they competed with your Roma side for the Scudetto. What are your thoughts ahead of Lazio v Atalanta?
"I'm not interested in these things - it's up to the league's governing body to deal with issues like that. I need to coach my side - I've always been a fair person and that's important to me."
Could you switch back to a 4-3-3 formation?
"Of course. I could well use a 4-3-3 set-up because this team is built for that system. We could also play with a number 10 behind the striker. Let's see - I'm looking closely at our opponents and we'll draw from what we see in training. We'll try and pick the best line-up possible."
Will you take into consideration the fact that Alessandro Florenzi is one yellow card away from a suspension?
"Every game is important - Genoa is a crucial game. We can't be thinking about what comes after.
"Also, I want to wish all the best to Iker Casillas - I hope he can get back playing. If not, I wish him the best of luck for the future."