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FONSECA confirms Kalinic to start in Cagliari

Read everything boss Paulo Fonseca had to say ahead of Sunday's Serie A meeting with Cagliari in Sardinia.

The game at the Sardegna Arena gets underway at 18:00 local time.

Here's what the boss had to say ahead of the contest...

How is the squad?

"The team is tired. There hasn't been much time to recover after a demanding game on a difficult pitch. We've been training well, however, and the players seem to be motivated and confident."

How are Jordan Veretout and Diego Perotti?

"Perotti isn't 100% and it'll be hard for him to recover before the game. Veretout is fit and has been training, despite a small foot problem."

It'll be Roma's 36th game of the season, while it'll only be Cagliari's 27th, is that an important factor at this stage of the season?

"The number of games isn't important right now. What's important is the recovery time between matches."

Given Amadou Diawara's absence, Roma seem to be forced to play at a fast pace. Is your squad capable of playing at such a rhythm at present, with so many games back to back?

"We always want to play with a fast rhythm in every match. The statistics show that we're a team that covers a lot of ground, which is why it's important to manage games as well as we can at the moment and even more important not to lose possession easily. We have to carefully choose the time to attack."

Why have you always believed in the team in terms of the race for fourth?

"First of all, because I'm a positive and optimistic person. We have a good chance and I don't think Atalanta will pick up maximum points all the way until the end of the season, although we certainly have to do better. The squad believes we can do it and that's why I have so much belief in my players. We have to keep working hard to try to achieve our target."

How much is the players' fitness affected by the fact that you've never played on a Monday after the cup games?

"We've been talking about that too much and I don't want it to become an excuse. I've spoken about it, I've been asked about it and I've responded with the truth. The two teams won't be in the same physical condition heading into the game. It would be ideal to have at least 72 hours for the players to recover."

Many games have been postponed because of the difficult situation in Italy. Do you agree with that or would you have postponed every match?

"First of all, I'd like to say that the authorities are trying to make the best decisions at this difficult time and I have faith in them. They are certainly doing all they can. There could obviously be a problem here in terms of sporting fairness and in order to remove all doubt, I think that if one game is called off, that should apply to all of them or every match should be played, be it behind closed doors or not."

Have the financial figures generated any uncertainty in the dressing room? Have the takeover talks affected the players' performance levels?

"I'm not an economist, I'm a coach and I can't talk about figures. The club's negotiations haven't affected the players."

How are Amadou Diawara and Lorenzo Pellegrini?

"Lorenzo is doing well and recovering from his injury. Diawara is improving day by day. We hope he can be available to help the team soon. Depending on how he does next week, I think he might be ready to play in the next game."

Will you manage to restore the attacking flow to the team's play that was seen at the start of the season?

"We want to produce performances just like the one against Lecce. It was a different situation against Gent, but we always work hard to be very attacking."

Will there be a chance to rest Eden Dzeko or is Nikola Kalinic unavailable? How is Javier Pastore?

"We're trying to get Pastore back and he's improved a lot in the last week, so we'll see how he progresses. If the question about Dzeko is to understand who might play tomorrow, I can tell you that Kalinic will start."
Source: As Roma
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