Spalletti hoping to avoid Chelsea in UCL draw

December 13, 2007

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti wants to avoid Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Eternal City giants wrapped up their group campaign with a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at the Stadio Olimpico.

'If I could choose, I would avoid a meeting in the next round with Chelsea,' Spalletti said.

'But in any case, we will have to accept the rival that the draw will give us.

'When one arrives at this stage of the competition it's always difficult and there's always the risk that you can give a bad image. I will await with calmness the draw.'

Last night's game was tarnished by events outside the stadium before kick-off when fans from both sides clashed, resulting in seven United fans being treated in hospital - five for stab wounds.

Spalletti saw the disturbing images of the fighting on television.

'It's difficult to give a comment on what has happened. These people are sick,' Spalletti said.

Nevertheless, the Roma coach will have to focus on his players and their preparations for the next phase of Europe's elite club competition.

Last season Roma were knocked out of the tournament after a humiliating 7-1 defeat at Manchester United in the quarter-finals.

Before the demolition at Old Trafford, Roma had beaten Lyon 2-0 on aggregate to reach the last eight.

Spalletti believes his team is capable of doing well again.

'Let's not forget last year we faced Olympique (Lyon),' Spalletti said.

'While there were doubts about our chances we behaved well and went through.

'I am convinced that my team will continue to hand good performances as we have done this season.'