Roma returns to European action with a trip to Austria to face Austrian Bundesliga leaders Red Bull Salzburg. And the Giallorossi will want a solid result to give themselves a chance to advance to the second leg at the Stadio Olimpico next week. So, with that in mind, expect Jose Mourinho to play his strongest possible starting XI in this one, and that could mean no changes from Saturday’s starting XI.
“As for our line-up, if we make any changes, it will be one or two, not more.”
And while Georginio Wjinaldum may eventually be part of that best XI, the Dutchman isn’t fit enough to get the start this soon after his long-term injury according to Mourinho.
“Gini won’t start tomorrow. We’ll see if the game allows us to give him a few minutes like against Lecce. He’s fine to train and his data is good but a real match is played at a different tempo. All of our games are real games till the last minute. We’re not able to get the result in the bag midway through the first half.”
With Gini not slated to start, Mourinho will ride his veteran midfield partnership of Nemanja Matic and Bryan Cristante. And his attack should look the same as well, as he confirmed that Tammy Abraham will not be rested.
“Abraham won’t be rested. He’ll play.”
It also looks like Stephan El Shaarawy will again get the start at wing-back, with Nicola Zalewski opposite him. However, Mourinho did say that Rick Karsdrop is again ready to be part of the squad, which should mean less of SES playing out of position.
“I’m happy he’s back. He’s an extra option for us. Having Rick available means [Nicola] Zalewski doesn’t have to play on the right and [Stephan] El Shaarawy doesn’t necessarily have to play wing-back and can play further forward. It’’s a big help in terms of our squad management.
With all that in mind, Mourinho does have more options on his bench, but I do expect to see the same XI that we saw against Lecce.
ROMA (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Ibanez, Smalling, Mancini; El Shaarawy, Cristante, Matic, Zalewski; Pellegrini, Dybala; Abraham