Roma coach Luciano Spalletti has defended his decision to replace leading scorer Edin Dzeko in Monday’s 4-1 win over Pescara, after the striker reacted angrily.
The Giallorossi were coasting to victory and held a 4-0 lead when Spalletti opted to substitute Dzeko for Clement Grenier in the 70th minute. The Bosnian, who is in the running for the Capocannoniere crown as Serie A’s top goalscorer, was yet to score in the match and was visibly furious as he left the field.
Indeed, the former Manchester City star stormed straight down the tunnel, but Spalletti brushed off the reaction and insisted his decision was with Sunday’s Derby della Capitale against Lazio in mind.
“I hadn’t noticed Dzeko’s reaction on the pitch, but in the changing rooms after the game we hugged as normal,” the former Udinese coach told Mediaset Premium after the victory at the Stadio Adriatico.
“From the pictures afterwards I see now that he was a bit angry, luckily he didn’t aim it at me on the bench.
“For the media, substituting him was the wrong choice, but I took him off because he is my only striker and I do not want to go into the next games without him. I cannot face future challenges without Dzeko, he is the only striker available to me at the moment.”
Dzeko is currently joint top scorer in Serie A alongside Torino’s Andrea Belotti, with 25 goals.