Roma will treat Serie A new boys Frosinone like they were Turin giants Juventus when the sides meet in what some fans have labelled a new local derby on Saturday.

“Frosinone thoroughly deserve to be in Serie A. I’ve watched their games from last year and their promotion was no fluke,” said Roma coach Rudi Garcia.

“They deserve great respect for that. Roma need to play at 100% and at a high tempo, just as we did against Juventus.

“That’s the only way we can hope to come away with three points.”

Roma have finished runners-up in the past two seasons but their hopes of ending their 14-year wait for the league title were boosted with a precious 2-1 victory over Juventus two weeks ago.

Roma have four points from their opening two games while Juve, the defending league and Cup champions and last season’s beaten Champions League finalists, have none following two opening defeats.

Roma host FC Barcelona on Wednesday night

A trip to Frosinone, a town of roughly 46,000 inhabitants 75 km south-east of the capital, comes four days before Roma host defending champions Barcelona in their opening Champions League group E game.

But any concerns Garcia’s squad of handsomely-paid stars might underestimate Roberto Stellone’s side at the 12,000-capacity Stadio Matusa were quickly put to bed by the Frenchman.

“We’ll start as favourites tomorrow (Saturday) but we have to prove we merit the tag,” said Garcia.

“We have to go about the job without thinking about other things and just give everything we’ve got on the pitch.

“Frosinone are full of enthusiasm and it will be a strange atmosphere but whoever plays has to focus on nothing but doing his very best for the team.”

Miralem Pjanic sidelined through injury, Dzeko could partner Totti

Roma will be without influential creative midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who has been sidelined through injury, giving Garcia a small selection headache as well as some thoughts about whether to change his winning formation.

.

Iconic club captain Francesco Totti could finally make his season debut in the league, possibly alongside Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko, having been left on the bench against Verona (1-1) and at home to Juventus.

“Either we play the same way with Dzeko or Totti, or we change and both can play,” explained Garcia.

“The most important thing is that the players are ready and know what they have to do in either case.”

Roma’s run in last season’s Champions League ended at the group stages following a humiliating 7-1 defeat by Bayern Munich at the Stadio Olimpico.

Facing Barcelona so early on in the campaign should allow Roma to gauge if they can compete against Europe’s elite – even if they beat Juventus 2-1 two weeks ago.

Either way, Garcia insists his players’ minds are only focused on Saturday.

He added: “We’re thinking of nothing but Frosinone. I only had to say one thing to them: No other game matters at the moment.”

By AFP