Serie A: Francesco Totti set to make Roma comeback v Udinese
Last Updated: 16/03/14 3:06pm
Francesco Totti: Returning for Roma
Roma coach Rudi Garcia has welcomed the return of Francesco Totti from injury for Monday night's home match against Udinese.
Totti has been sidelined since the Rome derby against Lazio on February 9 and his return to fitness is timely as Roma look to defend second place.
A 1-0 defeat at Napoli last weekend cut Roma's lead over them to three points as they fight to secure the second automatic Champions League place.
That defeat came on the back of a goalless draw at home to Inter and Garcia knows getting back to winning ways, and indeed just scoring, against 14th-placed Udinese is vital.
"With the return of Totti I have more solutions in attack now," Garcia told a press conference on Sunday.
"Our objective is always to win every game, so that hasn't changed now. We really want to get the victory.
"When someone like the captain returns to play it is always good news. Hopefully his return will end the series of unpleasant surprises on the injury front."
Roma's latest injury setback arrived at the San Paolo last Sunday when Dutchman Kevin Strootman was forced off early with a knee injury that will see him miss the rest of the season and the World Cup.
"We want to do well for Kevin, as he deserves to play in the Champions League next season," said Garcia, who added that there were positives to take from defeat against Napoli.
"I have already said that there are worrying victories and defeats that give you confidence. We played well against Napoli and must continue along that path, because we will win if we play like that.
"Roma only lost two games in Serie A. I ask you, is it shameful to lose at the Juventus Stadium and the San Paolo?
"I am happy with Roma's season, because nobody can win all 38 games. It is too early to give a verdict or project for next year, as our concentration must be aimed solely at the Udinese match."
Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin was struggling with illness before the match, but his players were fit and firing and he called on them to play without fear.
Udinese ended a five-game winless run by beating AC Milan 1-0 last weekend.
"I am not very well, as I've had flu, but the team is thankfully in better shape than I am," he said.
"Confidence is high after our victory over Milan and we must play Roma with courage."
Guidolin admits the return of Totti worried him, adding: "Totti is world class, the icing on the cake, so he can be an extra danger for us."
Gabriel Silva and Silvan Widmer are doubtful due to injury while Bruno Fernandes is suspended.