The Giallorossi are off to a winning start under José Mourinho’s guidance, having picked up two vital victories in just about 72 hours. Despite the quick turnaround we saw just one change in Roma’s starting XI on Sunday with Tammy Abraham replacing Eldor Shomurodov at the striker position. The Giallorossi will continue to be the busiest team on the peninsula this week, as they must play the second leg against Trabzonspor on Thursday and Salernitana on Sunday.
Yet, despite playing their third match in just over a week when the Turkish side arrives at the Olimpico on tomorrow, Jose Mourinho brushed aside any idea of wholesale changes during his prematch presser on Wednesday.
“We are in a moment where players need to be playing. We had a good pre-season, where everyone got the chance to play, and the first four or five games were at a fairly low competitive level. But now we need to play.
“There are a few players that we need to manage well given they have had a few injuries or issues recently, but there are others that need to play, that need to get minutes on the pitch behind them. It’s not the moment to be making lots of changes.”
With those words, Mourinho made it fairly clear that we will see close to an identical starting XI to Sunday’s Fiorentina match.
Starting in the back, with Chris Smalling still out with a flexor issue, Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez will anchor the center of the defense. Flanking them will again be Matias Vina and Rick Karsdorp. And Rui Patricio will man Roma’s goal behind that quartet.
One place where we could see a change is in the midfield double pivot. Both Jordan Veretout and Bryan Cristante had limited preseasons, so one could be rested in favor of Amadou Diawara. Currently, it looks like that could be Cristante based on some of the publications around the peninsula.
In the attack, Tammy Abraham should again lead the line after his massive performance against the Viola on Sunday. With Nicolo Zaniolo suspended for Sunday’s match, he should again be deployed on the right wing. Meanwhile, it looks like Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be give a breather, making space for Carles Perez on the left who seems to have passed Stephan El Shaarawy in the wing pecking order. Lastly, captain Lorenzo Pellegrini will start at trequartista after drawing high praise from his manager.
“He can play in all those roles. If we had three Pellegrinis, then I would play all three of them in the team. I won’t leave even one of them on the bench. He’s a versatile player, he can adapt to a number of different roles and positions. The other day he even played wide on the right for a bit. He also created that great moment from which Tammy [Abraham] hit the crossbar.
“Lorenzo is intelligent, he knows the game, he knows what the coach is asking from him. If we had three, all three would play.”