Luciano Spalletti has called on Roma fans to stop comparing Edin Dzeko with Francesco Totti as it is affecting the Bosnian's confidence.
Dzeko failed to find the back of the net again on Sunday as Roma drew 3-3 at Atalanta, the former Manchester City striker guilty of missing a host of chances – including an open goal.
And his profligacy in front of goal was highlighted further as Totti came off the bench to rescue a point, Roma's captain firing home with five minutes to play in Bergamo.
However, head coach Spalletti hopes another frustrating day for Dzeko does not lead to further calls for Totti to start in his place in the final five league games.
"You always compare Dzeko to Totti and he gets torn apart, but that's not fair," Spalletti told Mediaset Premium.
"Totti is a champion, so is Dzeko, but he's being demotivated and affected by this criticism.
"Clearly from the height of his experience and status he ought to do something more.
"[But] Totti's goal doesn't change anything for me. If he wants to be a player, he'll be a player.
"If he shoots it's a goal, but that's not all that counts in modern football, there is also pace, stamina and effort.
"The team won nine games without Totti, which means Dzeko is valid too."