Roma’s bid for automatic entry into next season’s UEFA Champions League group stages comes to a crucial juncture at struggling Milan on Saturday.
Rudi Garcia’s side moved back into second after a 2-0 win over Genoa was followed by Lazio’s slip-up at lowly Atalanta, in which they drew 1-1.
With only the top two assured of a place in the group stages of Europe’s premier club competition next season – third must go through qualifying – the stakes are high for Roma, one point ahead of Lazio, at San Siro.
A shocking run of form, which saw Roma win just three of 15 league games, put their Champions League hopes in severe jeopardy but back-to-back wins over Sassuolo and Genoa lifted spirits.
And midfielder Alessandro Florenzi, whose stunning stoppage-time strike settled their win last time out, insisted Roma are determined to win their fans over.
“Let’s focus on Milan straight away. We need to keep this spirit going,” he said.
“We’ll have done that [win the fans back] when we finish in second place. That’s what we want and that’s what they want.
“[Genoa] is an important victory and one that will be good for morale, for the atmosphere around the place and for us players. Let’s keep this up.”
Seydou Doumbia, who scored the other goal against Genoa, has recovered well from a knock and is expected to play. Midfield star Adem Ljajic is doubtful, though, after travelling to Germany to see a specialist following back pain.
Meanwhile, Milan defender Philippe Mexes, who spent seven years at Roma, acknowledged his side “really can’t do much worse” than their current form of five Serie A games without a win.
“We have to stay united, as we all need our team-mates,” he told Milan Channel.
“We know the fans are not happy and it’s up to us to get them back on our side.
“I have wonderful memories of my time at Roma. I still have a great rapport with Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi, but I’ve been here for four years now and am focused only on Milan. They are fighting for second place, are a united side and have a fine coach.”
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