As Jimmy already outlined in our match preview, this is the biggest match for Roma in quite some time. The Giallorossi haven’t lifted a trophy in over a decade and there would be no better way to start the Mourinho era than with just that: a trophy. Roma travels to Tirana tomorrow with a chance to end that drought and fortunately, Mourinho finds his squad in relatively good health as it makes final preparations for the decisive match.
Today in training, every member of the roster was a full participant, including Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian hasn’t seen game time since he came off injured in the second leg of Roma’s semi-finals victory on April 14th. With that said, it’s unknown just how fit Mkhi will be for the final, but considering his importance to the side, don’t be surprised to see him on the pitch tomorrow. If he’s got at least 60 minutes in his legs, I would expect to see him from the opening whistle. If not then Sergio Oliveria likely gets the start with Mkhitaryan contributing off the bench.
️ #UECLfinal Press Conference— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) May 24, 2022
Coach Jose Mourinho is currently speaking to the media in Tirana ahead of Wednesday's game.
Key quotes from the boss follow in this thread...#ASRoma #UECL pic.twitter.com/3OVVI4vx9A
Meanwhile, the only other position that could be up for grabs is left-wing-back. Just a couple of weeks ago, youngster Nicola Zalewski would’ve been a shoo-in to start after surpassing Matías Viña in the pecking order. However, with the return to fitness of Leonardo Spinazzola, Mourinho has options. The Italian international, who recently recovered from an Achilles’ injury suffered at Euro 2020, played 82 minutes on Friday further making a case to start this one.
Other than those two positions, there are no other doubts about Roma’s starting eleven. Rick Karsdorp, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Chris Smalling have all recently recovered from minor issues. Karsdorp, Zaniolo, and Bryan Cristante should all be fairly fresh after only playing less than half of Friday’s match. Meanwhile, Smalling got the entire match off.
Mourinho is a manager who has rotated very little over the course of the season and now isn’t the time to start. The Special One will run out his best line-up in Albania and Romanisti will hope that it will be enough to carry Roma over the line to its first trophy in quite some time and end the Bonsai memes once and for all.
ROMA (3-4-1-2): Patricio; Ibanez, Smalling, Mancini; Spinazzola, Cristante, Mkhitaryan, Karsdorp; Pellegrini; Abraham, Zaniolo