Roma coach Luciano Spalletti has admitted that the Serie A club are 'missing' the influence of playmaker and captain Francesco Totti who is struggling with a persistent knee injury.
Totti underwent surgery before the end of last season, having sustained a serious right knee injury. The 31-year-old former Italy international returned to play in last month's Italian Supercoppa against Internazionale but has made only two substitute appearances since and will not play in Wednesday's Serie A game at Genoa.
Spalletti said: ''The right knee continues to hurt him but he has to learn to live with that pain. However, today he couldn't even put pressure on that leg. It seems that after undergoing surgery, these problems are normal, at least for some time, and players have to learn to live with it.''
''We have always decided when Totti could play based on the doctors' advice,'' said Spalletti. ''I have not forced anyone to come back from injury earlier than expected - actually, it has been quite the opposite. The player has always wanted to return to play earlier and I have stated that he should wait.''
Totti's absence has hindered the Giallorossi, who have won just one game this season - last weekend's 3-0 triumph against Reggina - and are eighth in the Serie A standings. Totti was Roma's top scorer last season with 14 goals.