Roma head coach Eusebio Di Francesco has stressed the importance of preventing Porto from scoring an away in their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.
Last season’s semi-finalists Roma welcome Porto to Stadio Olimpico looking for a timely boost in what’s proved to be a frustrating domestic campaign.
The Giallorossi are currently sixth in Serie A, 25 points adrift of leaders Juventus, and Di Francesco has challenged his side to shut out Porto ahead of the second leg at the Estadio do Dragao on March 6.
“Tomorrow we have a great opportunity to produce a good performance and bring back some enthusiasm,” said the 49-year-old.
“It’s vital that we don’t concede, although we can’t allow that desire to compromise our identity and the way we want to play.”
Porto manager Sergio Conceicao, who returns to Stadio Olimpico having represented Roma’s rivals Lazio during his playing days, says he must overcome the selection setbacks.
“I am paid to find solutions and not to be involved in the problems,” he said, according to Porto’s Twitter account.
The 44-year-old added: “Obviously entering this stadium comes to memory the happy years and the many titles I have conquered in Lazio. It’s always an emotion to come to Rome, but my focus is tomorrow’s game.
“There is no special feeling for confronting Roma. There is a special feeling for having at the heart the symbol of FC Porto.”
Roma defender Kostas Manolas should be available following a knock, while goalkeeper Robin Olsen faces a late fitness test on a calf injury.
Czech forward Patrik Schick is unlikely to be involved because of a muscle problem and Diego Perotti and Cengiz Under remain sidelined.
Porto’s preparations have been hit by injuries to first-choice strikers Vincent Aboubakar and Moussa Marega, while midfielder Jesus Manuel Corona is suspended.
Credit: Sky Sports