Heading into the international break, Roma’s injury list was about as long as your weekly grocery shopping list. With Chris Smalling, Paulo Dybala, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Renato Sanches, and Diego Llorente injured in recent weeks, Mourinho’s starting options have been limited. His options off the bench even more so.
And while the week without domestic matches hasn’t healed all of Roma’s injury woes, it has boosted Mourinho’s side before Sunday’s early kick-off at the Olimpico against Monza. That boost is the return of central defender Llorente, who will slot back into the starting XI and allow Bryan Cristante to return to his natural midfield role.
Mourinho updated most of his injured players during Saturday’s pre-match presser.
“Smalling made his return to group training yesterday, but trained with little intensity as we mostly focused on tactics. He won’t be there with us tomorrow. Llorente, on the other hand, is available.”
“Sanches and Pellegrini are still out, but seeing Kumbulla and Abraham back on the training ground makes me happy.”
“Llorente is feeling well and can play. I hope and hope that next week Renato Sanches will also be able to return to work in the group. For the time being he’s training individually.”
So, the hope is to have players like Smalling and Sanches back for the upcoming midweek against Slavia Praha and Inter Milan. That means there won’t be many changes from the last match against Cagliari.
Aside from Llorente returning to the XI and the injured Dybala being dropped, Edoardo Bove should make space in the midfield for Cristante, while Andrea Belotti will take Dybala’s spot up front. Mourinho wouldn’t commit to the double striker formation in his presser, but that seems like the most likely solution given the form of Lukaku and Belotti. Other options would include Sadar Azmoun and Stephan El Shaarawy.
ROMA (3-5-2): Patricio; Ndicka, Llorente, Mancini; Spinazzola, Aouar, Paredes, Cristante Karsdorp; Belotti, Lukaku.