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Spalletti putting Totti emotion to one side

Luciano Spalletti will not allow emotions to affect his selection for the Rome derby after a fans poll called for Francesco Totti to start on Sunday.

Totti has found first-team action hard to come by this season with the veteran forward only making six appearances for Roma in Serie A, two of them coming since Spalletti replaced Rudi Garcia in January.

Having made his debut at the tender age of 16, Totti enjoys legendary status at Roma, with his 11 goals against Lazio doing nothing to harm his reputation.

Given his record against their city rivals, some Roma fans have called for the 39-year-old to start in what could be his final derby, but Spalletti looks set to overlook him again.

"I'd love to see him play with the captain's armband," the Roma coach told a news conference.

"It is right that Totti plays, as he has done such great things in the derby, but as a coach I have to push past the emotions of the sport and consider other things.

"I hope to do that in the right way because this is an important match and result for the objectives we have – [reaching] the Champions League.

"When you analyse a game, there are two different stories that you can see through the filter of the heart, with emotion and passion."

He added: "Totti will always have great moments on the pitch, if it was just down to that he could play another five or six years. His foot remains marvellous.

"There are other things to be considered, though. 

"A team has to win back the ball as quickly as possible, otherwise you have to run without the ball and that is the most difficult thing for any player in a match. Chasing opponents around is totally different to running into spaces by your own volition."