Roma director Francesco Totti has already thrown in the towel in the pursuit of Juventus at the top of Serie A, saying the other 19 clubs are fighting only for second place.
Roma finished 18 points behind Juve last season, qualifying for the Champions League in third place. And Totti believes a similar performance this season would have to be considered as a success since the gap between themselves and the reigning champions has only grown.
"We've got to be realistic and Juve are in a league of their own, there's no point hiding from it," he said in La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We need to play another [league] with AC Milan, Inter, Napoli and Lazio.
"Juve are out of the competition and people need to know this. The expectations need to be different. Seeing what happened last year, with the semifinal of the Champions League and finishing in the top three of Serie A, you would always like to improve, but this would mean reaching the Champions League final and winning Serie A.
"It's normal that everybody sets this objective to start with, but the reality is different. Juve are out of the competition and we want to finish between second and fourth."
The Giallorossi have struggled at the start of the season with just four points from their first three games, but Totti has dismissed talk of a crisis.
"Nobody would have expected this start to the season, even if it's exaggerated to be talking about it now after just three games," he said. "We need to be united and leave all the talking to those in the bars and cafes outside Trigoria [training centre].
"[Eusebio] Di Francesco is one of the best Italian coaches. He's got great character and he doesn't let anybody influence him. He has already proven he is good enough for Roma. People here want to win, but the others aren't winning either so we're in the same boat, apart from Juve.
"The club and the fans must all get behind the coach. The fans are passionate and proud; and without them, we would not go anywhere. Together, we can get out of this rut, which is not a rut for me anyway. The team have got to follow the coach."