MILAN, March 1 (Reuters) - AS Roma and Lazio must both put internal problems behind them when the bitter rivals meet in their second derby of the season on Sunday (1400).
Roma, sixth in Serie A with 38 points, have promised that coach Luis Enrique’s decision to drop pivotal midfielder Daniele De Rossi from last week’s match at Atalanta for indiscipline is water under the bridge.
Over at Lazio, who are fourth with 45 points, coach Edoardo Reja has put aside differences with the club which prompted him to announce his resignation 10 days ago - a decision that the directors refused to accept.
Roma crashed 4-1 at Atalanta last week without De Rossi, who was disciplined for turning up late for a team meeting.
De Rossi refused to give details but said there were no hard feelings.
”My coach said that things remain in the dressing-room and I will follow this line.
”There is nothing to hide: I am part of a group in which we are all treated equally. I have always spoken highly of Luis Enrique and I will continue to do so. He is a good person and I like that everyone is equal in his eyes.
“It was not positive, but what I want to say is that there has been no quarrel. I was just a bit inattentive.”
Reja said there were no lingering problems following last week’s episode before the Europa League match with Atletico Madrid.
“I have an excellent relationship with the president apart from some problems a few days ago,” said Reja, whose side beat Fiorentina 1-0 last weekend.
“For me, the matter is closed. Now we are thinking of Roma; the derby is a game that does not listen to predictions. I hope to have 11 lions on the field.”
Lazio are level on points with third-placed Udinese, who occupy the Champions League qualifying-round slot.
Leaders AC Milan (51 points) visit Palermo on Saturday (1700) while Juventus, who are one point behind and have a game in hand, have a more straightforward game at home to Chievo (1945).
Milan and Juve drew 1-1 last Saturday and the controversy raged for several days after Sulley Muntari had a goal disallowed even though his header was a metre over the line before it was pulled away by Gianluigi Buffon.
“Muntari’s goal not being seen by the linesman is a tragedy for football,” said Milan topscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was completing a three-match ban.
“After the match, I was more aggrieved than angry. Everyone could see it was a goal. Not giving it in that situation... You can get an offside call wrong but not a goal like that.”
Crisis club Inter Milan host Catania (Sunday 1945) when another defeat could spell the end for coach Claudio Ranieri.
Inter, down to seventh with 36 points, have lost their last four Serie A matches without scoring and have taken only one point from their last 18.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Clare Fallon)
Please double-click on the newslink:
for more Italian soccer