As we discussed on the most recent episode of Across the Romaverse, Roma can’t afford to approach Friday’s match in Turin with anything other than a winning mentality. Thanks to dropped points in recent weeks, the Giallorossi now have everything to play for against Torino. A win would secure Europa League qualification and, at minimum, a 6th place finish, while dropped points could see Roma fall as far as 8th in the table—completely out of the European places.
If that nightmare scenario plays out then the pressure on the Giallorossi will increase in Wednesday’s UEFA Conference League final against Feyenoord. In that situation, the Giallorossi would not only have the pressure of winning the club’s first trophy in over a decade hanging over their heads, but they’d also need a win to guarantee a Europa League place or perhaps European football in general. That’s something Jose Mourinho and company would be keen to avoid.
“This possibility exists – we can’t say it is an impossible scenario. The risk is there. We have two finals to play and theoretically we could lose them both. There is that risk. I know it, the players know it.”
That likely means Mourinho will play as many of his surefire starters as possible against the Granata four days before the Conference League final in Albania. The problem is there are quite a few names on Roma’s injury list who probably won’t feature on Friday and may even be a doubt on Wednesday.
“Today (Wednesday) in training we haven’t hidden any players. Smalling, Karsdorp, Zaniolo, Mkhitaryan – they weren’t there because they are currently not available for Friday. It’s not easy. It would be easier if we were already qualified for Europe in the league or we were already out of it altogether. But my way of working is to focus on Friday.”
With those four absences in mind, Mourinho will be forced to play without a quarter of his regular starting eleven against the Granata, while likely managing the minutes of several others. The absences of Smalling, Karsdorp, Zaniolo, and Mkhitaryan likely means starts for Max Kumbulla, Jordan Veretout, Carles Pérez, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Also, be sure to keep an eye on the left wing-back position tomorrow—Mourinho resting Leonardo Spinazzola against Torino could indicate a larger role for him in the ECL finale.
ROMA (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Kumbulla, Ibañez, Mancini; Zalewski, Cristante, Veretout, Maitland-Niles; Pellegrini, Pérez; Abraham