ROME // Mirko Vucinic says struggling Roma can brush off the expected absence of his inspirational captain Francesco Totti and claim success in the Eternal City derby against Lazio. With Totti a major doubt after missing training with a knee problem, it will be down to Vucinic to provide the goal threat.
"We will do everything possible not to disappoint our fans," said the Montenegrin forward. "We go into this game following a negative period and we will have to find the right concentration and bring out our best." Roma, who have taken only eight points from 10 games, are in desperate need of a victory. It is a far cry for the team that pushed Inter Milan all the way to the final game of the campaign last season before finishing as runners-up.
"We are 14 points behind Lazio," said Vucinic. "We must try to reduce the gap. Hence, a draw for us would not be a good result." The Biancoceleste, fifth in the standings, two points behind leaders Inter, have the most potent strike force in the league with 21 goals, but remain cautious. "Roma's negative run means nothing in this game," said the Lazio captain Tommaso Rocchi. "This game is 90 minutes and the past doesn't count."
AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo admits he is unlikely to be ready to make his long-awaited return from a thigh injury in the clash with struggling Chievo. The Italy international said: "Seeing my teammates play every Sunday, from afar, is tough, I hope to be back soon." * With agencies