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Pallotta stands by Spalletti ahead of Totti talks

SoccerNews in Serie A 23 Feb 2016

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Roma president James Pallotta has backed Luciano Spalletti’s handling of the Francesco Totti row and said he will speak with the club captain about his future.

Totti caused a storm in the Italian capital over the weekend after he criticised his lack of playing time under the coach, who promptly dropped him from the squad ahead of the Serie A clash with Palermo.

Spalletti attempted to draw a line under the issue following the 5-0 victory on Sunday and Totti has since returned to training with the rest of the first-team squad.

And Pallotta insists the coach’s conduct has been correct throughout, telling Corriere dello Sport: “Since he arrived, a lot of things have changed for the better, and I’m not only talking about the team on the pitch.

“I was surprised by Francesco’s reaction. I didn’t expect it, but I do partly understand: he’s a great player, he has made Roma history, he loves to compete, he’s a superstar.

“But what the coach did was dictated by a fundamental principle: that the team comes before any player.

“It’s absolutely not true that Luciano disrespected Francesco, that’s just speculation.”

With Totti’s contract due to expire at the end of the season, Pallotta has promised to hold further talks with the 39-year-old about his future at the club.

“Francesco and I will sit at a table, I’ll speak with him but also with the others,” he said. “In December, when we met the last time, he told me that he wanted to continue playing. Now we will see.

“When you’re the owner of a team you must respect every one of your players. In Totti’s case, I have great respect towards him, and he can stay at Roma as a player or director.”

Pallotta also insisted that Spalletti will not be leaving the club despite the dispute, which has seen a number of supporters side with Totti.

“In any case, Luciano is and will remain the coach of Roma,” he added.

“If until now there was a decision that wasn’t a mistake, it was definitely that of hiring Spalletti.”

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