José Mourinho's squad rotation, or lack thereof, is starting to bear fruit: bruised and rotten fruit. Lorenzo Pellegrini may be in the middle of a career season under The Special One but he's not immune to the ravages of professional football. Prior to kick off in yesterday's 2-1 defeat to AC Milan, Pellegrini reported issues with his left knee, which was noticeably bandaged during the club's warm-up activities, requiring multiple treatments with the ubiquitous magic freeze spray.
While Pellegrini was able to gut out 90 mostly solid minutes in Roma's loss to Milan, according to the Corriere dello Sport, it didn't come without a cost. With inflammation lingering in his left knee, the CdS reports that Pellegrini will be spared Roma's midweek match against Bodø/Glimt in the Conference League on Thursday. Roma may not have to travel to Norway this time around, but the club may use this home match as an opportunity to afford the captain some much-needed rest.
Much has been made of Mourinho's limited squad rotation—though he has been easing some younger players into the squad lately—and no player bears that brunt more than Pellegrini. In all competitions for club and country, Pellegrini has already amassed nearly 1,400 minutes through the season's first two months, and that's on top of the nearly 4,000 he compiled in all competitions last season.
Now, this is what you expect from your club captain and 25-year-old star player, but even players as pivotal as Pellegrini can’t escape basic biological wear and tear, so sparing him for the Conference League is the correct call, one that should benefit everyone involved.
Despite his stated preference for certain players, Mourinho actually has several options to replace Pellegrini on Thursday, including playing either Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Bryan Cristante in the hole or perhaps even giving Gonzalo Villar a go as Roma's advanced playmaker.
No matter which way Mourinho turns, Roma should be primed and ready to exact revenge from last week's 6-1 shocker.