The top five in Serie A are all within seven points, but will Napoli maintain their narrow lead over the rest of the pack?

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco has told the club’s supporters to get behind Daniele De Rossi after he was sent off in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Genoa.

De Rossi has been banned for two games for a slap on Gianluca Lapadula that also saw Genoa awarded the penalty from which they levelled the scores.

It means he misses Friday’s clash with SPAL as well as the trip to Chievo, but Di Francesco said he hoped he would come back stronger.

“The first thing I did was give him a slap, like his on Lapadula!” the coach told a news conference.

“Jokes aside, he made a mistake and it’s the first time this has happened with me.

“He has made a public and sincere apology. Like with any son, you shouldn’t abandon them when they’ve done wrong, but help them.

“We have an internal code of conduct that I introduced and the players agreed upon. This will remain an internal matter, but there will be a punishment.

“We start again from scratch, paying more attention to our behaviour, ignoring some things and asking for everyone’s support.

“As a true Roman, he needs the support of everyone during this difficult time.”

Di Francesco will rest Radja Nainggolan ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League decider against Qarabag — a game Roma must win to be sure of reaching the round of 16.

“Nainggolan won’t be selected due to a bit of muscular fatigue,” Di Francesco said. “He has played a lot of games not at full fitness.

“We have decided to bring him back into the squad on Saturday or Sunday.

“We’ll make the call on [Diego] Perotti today as well. It’s difficult to imagine him starting, but we’ll see whether to have him on the bench or not.”

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.


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