Last weekend, Roma played one of its most clinical offensive performances in recent memory. The Giallorossi smashed home an American football touchdown in a 7-0 rout of bottom-of-the-table Empoli. Nevertheless, as good as that felt, the Giallorossi must remain focused as they travel east to Moldova to face Sheriff FC in Tiraspol for their first Europa League group stage match.
Last season, Roma progressed to the Europa League final but missed out on a top-four finish in the league due to a lack of quality depth. Jose Mourinho had to weigh the value of each competition in the club’s quest to reach the Champions League. In the final stretch last season, Mourinho and Roma had to cope with injuries to key players such as Paulo Dybala and Chris Smalling, likely due to the heavy minutes many players had to play.
This summer, Tiago Pinto was tasked with building a side capable of qualifying for the Champions League. A big part of that was adding to the depth of the squad. And that depth will start being tested this week with midweek features coming up over the next few weeks both in Europe and domestically.
Tomorrow against Sheriff, Mourinho will again be without Chris Smalling and Lorenzo Pellegrini. The hope is that both will be available for Sunday against Torino. With Smalling out, Mourinho confirmed that Gianluca Mancini, Diego Llorente, and Evan Ndicka will start in defense.
Mourinho confirmed that Rui Patricio will be rested after recording his first clean sheet of the season against Empoli. As a result, Mile Svilar will start as the goalkeeper. On the right wing, Rick Karsdorp will start, as announced by Mourinho in his pre-match press conference. Nicola Zalewski is expected to play on the left wing.
#Mourinho: "Giocherà Svilar, ma perché Rui ha giocato molto bene nell'ultima partita, perché abbiamo vinto e non ha preso gol e perché non c'è una minima critica a lui. Se contro l'Empoli non fosse andata bene avrebbe giocato domani.#ASRoma #SheriffRoma— Forzaroma.info (@forzaroma) September 20, 2023
Mourinho wouldn’t indicate who would start in attack, but the prevailing thought is that we’ll see some rotation with Andrea Belotti and Stephan El Shaarawy getting the nod. In the midfield, we’ll likely see Bryan Cristante, Edoardo Bove, and Leandro Paredes.
ROMA (3-5-2): Patricio; Ndicka, Llorente, Mancini; Zalewski, Bove, Cristante, Paredes, Karsdorp; El Shaarawy, Belotti.