Roma prepare to face the most important fixture of their season tomorrow evening as they travel to the UK for the first leg of their Conference League semifinal against Leicester City.
The Giallorossi face-off against the English side after they eliminated Bodø/Glimt from the competition at the Stadio Olimpico two weeks ago. They enter Thursday’s affair after seeing their 12-match league unbeaten streak snapped by Inter at the San Siro.
However, Roma boss José Mourinho will welcome back starting pair Bryan Cristante and Nicolò Zaniolo, who were absent from Sunday’s match against the Nerazzurri.
For the first time this season, the Portuguese technician will have his full squad available after recently welcoming back injured fullback Leonardo Spinazzola. Though, he still expects a battle against the English side.
“We are up against a Premier League team, and the Premier League is the strongest national competition in the world,” said Mourinho.
“Leicester have won titles recently, and compete every weekend at the highest level. They are a very strong team. But we are Roma, and the second leg will be at home in front of our wonderful fans.”
As for the Foxes, they enter the semifinals after narrowly scraping by PSV in the quarterfinals.
Down 1-0 with less than fifteen minutes remaining, Leicester’s James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira scored twice in ten minutes to secure progression over the Dutch side.
Assessing his team’s journey to the semifinals, manager Brendan Rodgers said, “When you come away and you see the teams we’ve played against and the four teams left you see it’s a prestigious competition.”
“To get to the final, we will have to work really hard. Roma have a great manager and fantastic players, so we will have to be at our best.”
“We want to perform and it should be an incredible atmosphere and the crowd can really help us bring our performance and tempo.”
The two sides kick-off tomorrow evening at 21.00 CET at the King Power Stadium in East Midlands.
(4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Söyüncü, Evans, Castagne; Mendy; Maddison, Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall, Lookman; Vardy
Bench: Ward, Justin, Amartey, Fofana, Vestergaard, Soumare, Albrighton, Choudhury, Iheanacho, Pérez, Daka
(3-4-2-1): Rui Patrício; Mancini, Smalling, Ibañez; Karsdorp, Cristante, Mkhitaryan, Zalewski; Pellegrini, Zaniolo; Abraham
Bench: Fuzato, Spinazzola, Maitland-Niles, Viña, Kumbulla, Bove, Diawara, Veretout, Pérez, El Sharaawy, Felix, Shomurodov