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Probable Formations: Roma vs Udinese

Mourinho should have some key contributors back in Roma’s first match back from the international break.

As Roma Training Session Photo by Luciano Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

Roma returns from the international break just a bit healthier than it was two weeks ago during the Derby della Capitale. And with a chance to move up a couple of spots in the Serie A table, the returnees couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

As Jimmy outlined in his match preview, with Atalanta and Fiorentina falling to Napoli and Milan, respectively, Roma has a chance to climb to fifth in the table and remain just three points out of a Champions League place. And with the gauntlet of a schedule that looms in the next couple of weeks for the Giallorossi, anything but three points will be a missed opportunity for Mourinho’s men.

Most of the roster will be available to Roma’s CT for this one. However, the update on Chris Smalling wasn’t promising.

“Regarding Smalling, the injury is very much there. There are also regular people like us, who aren’t high-performance athletes, who have a greater pain threshold. Maybe I can sleep fine with toothache, maybe you struggle. That’s how it is.

“Smalling isn’t capable of playing through pain. He holds something back. His specific issue is a real challenge. It’s really frustrating for me because his position – centre back – is where we’re most desperate for players. But that’s how it is. We’ve just got to be patient. I shouldn’t beat myself up or criticise him. We’ll just wait and see when he’s ready.

“He spent the whole of this week with the medical team. He’s not at a point where he’s splitting his time evenly between the doctors and the coaching staff, be it in the gym or on the pitch. He doesn’t even know what the weather is like because it’s been that long since he’s been outside. That’s holding him back. However, it’s been his first pain-free week.

“The aim is to get him on the pitch next week. But working with whom? Not with me – I’m talking about physios, medical staff. He’s behind on his recovery and I don’t expect to see him back in action in the next two to three weeks.”

That being said, Roma will continue to rely on the center-back trio of Gianluca Mancini, Diego Llorente, and Evan Ndicka for the time being. But, with the African Cup looming in January, Roma may need to find some extra CB help in the coming weeks.

There is some good news in the midfield where Lorenzo Pellegrini has returned to full training and will be available for selection on Sunday. Conversely, though, Renato Sanches was ruled out by Mourinho even though he’s no longer injured.

“You asked me about Renato. He won’t play tomorrow. If you ask me if Renato is injured, no, he’s not. He’s not injured. What happened was that in the last two weeks, when Pellegrini worked really hard to get into excellent condition by the end of the two weeks, Renato interrupted that process with a little problem he had last week.

“He only started training with the team again yesterday. He’s a player who needs to work consistently and he hasn’t been working consistently. When will he get that work done? Today, tomorrow, Monday, Tuesday... trying to be ready for Thursday or Sunday. That’s the way we need to manage things. So Renato is not injured by he won’t play tomorrow.”

In addition to Pellegrini, Leonardo Spinazzola is back in action. And both Italians could be in the starting XI on Sunday. Reports seem to indicate that Mourinho’s XI will be as follows:

Probable Formation

ROMA (3-5-2): Patricio; Ndicka, Llorente, Mancini; Spinazzola, Paredes, Cristante, Pellegrini, Karsdorp; Dybala, Lukaku.