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Spalletti wary of Dynamo backlash

Luciano Spalletti insists AS Roma will not be underestimating FC Dynamo Kyiv as they look to seal their place in the knockout rounds with a match to go.

Luciano Spalletti insists that his AS Roma side will not be underestimating FC Dynamo Kyiv when the two teams meet on Tuesday.

'Nothing to lose'
Dynamo, still point-less in Group F, cannot reach the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League whereas second-placed Roma are close to booking their ticket. Spalletti, though, believes the form book will count for nothing in Kiev. "We have to secure our progress to the next round while Dynamo have nothing to lose," the coach said. "They will have no fear and no nerves. We will face motivated players determined to show their best. They won their recent league matches against [FC] Shakhtar Donetsk and [FC] Arsenal Kyiv and are fighting for their title, so there is no reason to underestimate them."

Close to qualification
Roma will qualify for the tournament's spring stage if they better the result achieved by third-placed Sporting Clube de Portugal against Manchester United FC at Old Trafford. Spalletti, however, is without key personnel at the NSC Olympiyskiy Stadium through injury, including captain Francesco Totti, Philippe Mexes, Alberto Aquilani and Simone Perrotta while Taddei is doubtful. With the Giallorossi just three points off the top of Serie A following Saturday's 1-0 win at Genoa CFC, Spalletti is nonetheless confident that their fine run of results can continue. "It is down to the coach to make sure the absence of players is not felt, because a coach rarely has a full squad at his disposal anyway."

Snow forecast
With snow forecast in Ukraine, Dynamo will hope to catch Roma cold. After four successive Group F defeats, they must win to have any chance of clinching third place and a UEFA Cup berth. They are already on their third coach of a difficult campaign and an injury crisis has not made caretaker boss Oleh Luzhny's job any easier. He replaced József Szabó earlier this month, before the 4-0 Matchday 4 defeat at Manchester United. A pair of Premier League wins have since raised morale, yet they have come at a price.

No full complement
Defensive midfielder Carlos Corrêa was injured in Saturday's 1-0 victory at Arsenal Kyiv and faces a late fitness test, with Ayila Yussuf likely to deputise. Striker Kleber is out with a knee problem, joining defenders Rodrigo and Pape Diakhate and goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy on the sidelines. The No1, who damaged an ankle on international duty, will be replaced by 20-year-old Olexandr Rybka. Goran Gavrančić and Vladyslav Vaschuk should start in central defence with Andriy Nesmachniy being deployed on the left.

Difficult situation
"Of course, our situation is far from ideal," Luzhny said. "We have to win our last two matches to have any chance of playing in the UEFA Cup. It is a pity, but on top of that we also have big selection problems. Our medical team will do their best to get Carlos Corrêa fit, but it's 50-50. Everything depends on me and the players now. They have to be motivated and to fight hard for every ball. We'll play for the three points, because we want to play in the UEFA Cup in the spring."