Ranieri expects tough test from Fulham

Roma coach Claudio Ranieri is expecting a very hard game against Fulham tomorrow in their Europa League showdown at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Giallorossi, still without star forward Francesco Totti through a knee injury, go into the game third in Group E, one point behind the second-placed Cottagers and two behind leaders Basle with three games remaining.

Fulham arrive in the Italian capital on the back of a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the Premier League and Ranieri, a former coach of Fulham's west London rivals Chelsea, knows his team will be put to the test tomorrow.

He said: "Fulham did well against Manchester City and they won convincingly against Liverpool.

"We expect a difficult game.

"We knew that would be the case in our first game against them where we managed to come home with a point (from a 1-1 draw)."

Ranieri believes the biggest threat Fulham pose will be on the counter-attack.

"It's going to be complicated because Fulham will try to hit us in fast counter-attacks," said Ranieri.

However, he hopes his team will cope and improve in the hope of progressing to the next round.

"We have two important games at home and we want to keep going in Europe," said Ranieri.

"Of course we are missing the Champions League but that by no means suggests that we don't consider this competition important.

"We want to go as far as possible in this tournament."

Roma halted a run of three consecutive league defeats with a 2-1 win over Bologna at the weekend to climb to 14th place in Serie A.

Ranieri admits his team are still a long way from being at their best.

"We are missing a striker," said Ranieri.

"We create chances but we are lacking a player that finishes them off, we simply don't seem to score many goals."

A victory tomorrow will be a big morale boost for the Giallorossi leading into Sunday's game away to Serie A leaders Inter Milan.

"To go into the game at Inter with an important result would do good for our spirit," said Ranieri.

"Our aim is to create goalscoring chances and try to finish them off without giving away a goal."

Roma will be without injured pair Juan and Nicolas Burdisso but Mirko Vucinic has recovered from a muscular injury and is set to lead the attack alongside Julio Baptista.