Spalletti demands end to damaging Roma 'games'


Roma boss Luciano Spalletti is demanding an end to the "games" at Roma following reports of in-fighting at the Stadio Olimpico.

A 3-1 defeat to Torino on Sunday was the latest setback to have hit the capital club in what has been a difficult start to the season, with Spalletti reportedly telling his players to "tell me if I am the problem" in a heated post-match exchange.

Inconsistent form has seen Roma fall five points behind champions Juventus in the Serie A table after just six matches, while question marks over the construction of the new Stadio della Roma have frustrated some supporters.

Spalletti was also criticised as "a small man" by Ilary Blasi, the wife of Francesco Totti, following the coach's decision to remove the Roma veteran from his squad last season after he publicly called for more playing time.

Though Totti has played a key role this season, registering two goals and two assists in four league appearances, fans have been divided over their support for the coach or the 40-year-old forward, with one banner raised in the city this week that read 'Respect for Mr Spalletti!'.

Spalletti himself has now called for a renewed sense of unity within the club as they prepare for Thursday's Europa League clash with Astra Giurgiu.

"There was a banner that gave me a huge sense of pleasure," he said. "It is a call for what the fans want: no more games or attention towards situations that don't benefit Roma. They're looking for unity and respect for Roma.

"Situations that are deliberately created to take energy away from the Roma results must be eliminated. We all must respect Roma, so I call everyone to order.

"We need to get results because we are Roma, but you [the media] must do your jobs well. Enough of these little games."

Spalletti has challenged his side to prove they are the superior force when Astra visit the Olimpico on Thursday.

"Astra are a team that have won their last two games," he said. "Their coach has had a certain career, he's often changed team and knows how to organise situations.

"Roma are stronger, but there's always the need to put it into practice."