What is the team´s health status? Matěj Jurásek didn´t finish the match against Plzeň...
"Matěj suffered a serious ankle ligament injury; the estimated recovery time is three weeks. He won´t step on the field on Thursday for sure, and there is also a question mark regarding Ivan Schranz. On the other hand, Tomáš Holeš is returning to us. The lineup will be very similar to the one from Sunday´s duel."
You are in a comfortable position in the table. Will the quality displayed be more important than the result, given the two recent defeats?
"Definitely yes, we want to redeem ourselves from Sunday. We feel that the performance against Plzeň was poor from our emotional and fighting perspective. We were dissatisfied with ourselves and the people; now we face a big team and quality. It´s always about what the opponent allows. We are interested in bringing back the emotions, the desire to leave everything on the field to our game. That wasn´t there against Plzeň; we appeal for it to appear on Thursday. It will be a match that requires a comprehensive performance, discipline, and dedication. We want to show the best of us, to make it a beautiful game to watch."
Did emotions show in the post-match speech in the locker room after the defeat against Plzeň?
"We discussed the result emphatically after the match and on Tuesday. One thing is the result; of course, both teams always want to win, but as I said, we lacked emotions, determination, and the desire to overturn the unfavorable result from us in the duel. Plzeň played excellently, but from our side, what we are used to have in big matches was missing. It happened perhaps for the first time in the six years I´ve been here. We were dissatisfied, but as I said, we need to learn from it; I expect improvement on Thursday. On Thursday, we must fight for Slavia. For the sold-out stadium. I know the guys feel the same way. We can´t excuse ourselves by saying that we lost emotionally charged players. As coaches, we have to work on this and do things so that at least an emotional mark remains behind us in case of an unfavorable result."
Are you considering changes in the lineup, formation? And will you reveal another name from the starting lineup, perhaps Michal Tomič sitting next to you?
"Let me start from the back. Michal knows it; he knows his situation; it´s 50-50. We are still waiting for the health status of one player. To not break tradition, Tomáš Holeš will play from the beginning. Regarding the formation, AS changes it a lot at the top; they rotate, so we will go with one setup for the foundation and another for pressing, playing in the midfield. We want the lineup to be structured so that we can switch from one formation to another."
How do you defend against Romelo Lukaku? He has scored in the last 14 Europa League matches. Is it even possible?
"That record is exceptional; he is an exceptional player. We prepared for him already fourteen days ago; his playing style is very specific. All Roma players are quality; we tried to double him, but that was a problem. It opened up space for El Shaarawy and others. Lukaku is incredibly strong with his back to the goal, in duels. When he turns on the turbo, he can make a difference in two steps. He can go behind the defense, play one-on-one. Our active play, active approach, must work. We must have quality with the ball; the more we have it, the less dangerous he will be. Of course, we will see only before the match whether he will even play."
Italian media speculate that AS will not field Lukaku with Dybala. Would that disappoint you?
"I would really like them to play. European matches are a celebration for us. We want our fans to see world-class players, and we want to compete with them on the pitch. We worked hard to play such matches, to welcome big clubs like AS Roma at Eden. I believe they will appear on the field at least for some time, even though they have the Rome derby coming up over the weekend."
Petr Ševčík was at practice; how is he doing? Is it possible that he will play against Rome?
"Petr has been training for a week; on Thursday, he will be ready to enter the game for some part. We want to give him game practice; we know how much we miss him. We are struggling with central midfielders; they have no more than two assists. I believe Petr´s return will help us solve this. Our forwards suffer; they don´t get to as many balls. We want Petr to play 20, 30, 35 minutes on Thursday, of course, we will see according to the situation, the score, and which players will play against us. We want him to bring ideas to our game, passes behind the defense, creativity in the midfield."