"It's clear that we are missing Totti," Spalletti admitted. "In the past we have relied on his quality and his numbers do the talking for him.
"But his right knee continues to cause him pain and he needs to learn to live with it.
"However, when it's really bad, like it was this morning, he can't just ignore it. These problems seem to be normal after the kind of operation he had.
"He didn't rush back too quickly because everything was decided along with the medical team.
"Francesco is so motivated and he would have wanted to play earlier if possible because he wants to make his contribution."
In spite of recent rumours, Spalletti denied that there's any rift with the medical team.
"I get on really well with doctor Mario Brozzi," he said. "Once in the last four years we have had a run-in, but I can't even remember when.
"We have meeting where we speak and make decisions together."