Following a difficult week of results, Roma return to league action tomorrow evening in Emilia-Romagna to faceoff against Sassuolo.
The capital club enter the match following last weekend’s controversial draw against Genoa and after Tuesday’s 2-0 Coppa Italia defeat against Inter.
Furthermore, rumors emerged late in the week that within Roma’s squad have grown tired of manager José Mourinho’s abrasive managerial approach.
A report from Il Messaggero claimed that multiple players were offended by a comment Mourinho made the defeat to the Nerazzurri, however, the ‘Special One’ addressed the situation and quickly quashed the gossip.
“First of all, in terms of what you have called my ‘outrage’, it’s always been my rule that what is said in the changing room, stays in the changing room,” he said today.
“For this reason I won’t discuss what I said. Having said that, I am not in a position to say that it’s not true that we spoke in the changing room after the game. But I won’t reveal what was said. All I’ll say is that it’s a huge lie. No-one was offended. This is what the Roma [media] environment is.”
He continued, “What you call ‘outrage’, to me that’s work. It’s coaching. It’s to tell them where they have gone wrong. Do you really think that I shouldn’t analyse the first goal we conceded on Tuesday? You think that I shouldn’t hold Roger Ibanez accountable for that pass? That I shouldn’t tell Rick Karsdorp that the way Ivan Perisic reacted is something he should also have been able to do? That I shouldn’t say to Gianluca Mancini that he can’t stay half-there and half not, and that he either has to go out to Perisic or stay on the near post? That I shouldn’t say to Chris Smalling that we are playing with three central defenders; he needs to track the forward that runs into the box?”
“The space does not score goals – the players score goals. They marked the space and not the player. I have to coach them on that and my players have told me, ‘Yes, boss, this is what we want’.”
“For this reason, in terms of the reports that emerged this week about issues between me and my players, I could have used a few ugly words like I used to when I was at Inter – but I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to repeat them. Twelve years is a long time. But they are complete and utter lies, okay?
“We lost a game, we have analysed that game. We have spoken after that game. We have spoken here [at Trigoria]. We have worked on it and we’ve analysed everything that did not go as well as we wanted. This is the work. Everything else, it’s total b*******.”
As for their opponents, Mourinho pointed out Sassuolo’s technical quality and their ability to build from the back.
We have studied Sassuolo, we’ve seen that it is hard to play against them. They have a really strong footballing identity and they build the action really well from the back.,” he said.
“I don’t have the option to build the play from the back in the way he can with Maxime Lopez and Gian Marco Ferrari, those players have more technical quality, they are very, very good.”
He added, “Dionisi is a great coach and it’s a group of players that have had a lot of time to work on the principles of his style. They have been a very stable group and that will make it a very tough game for us.”
The Roma boss also refused to give any hints into what his possible starting formation will be. The capital club will be without Nicolo Zaniolo, who’s suspended, while Tammy Abraham’s availability remains a question mark after he suffered an injury against Inter.
The two sides kick-off tomorrow at 18.00 CET at the Mapei Stadium.
Sassuolo (4-3-3): Consigli; Toljan, Chiriches, G. Ferrari, Rogerio; Frattesi, Lopez, Traore; Berardi, Defrel, Ciervo
Bench: Satalino, Pegolo, Ayhan, Ceide, Muldur, Tressoldi, Kyriakopoulos, Magnanelli, Harroui, Henrique, Oddei, Aucelli
Roma (4-2-3-1): Rui Patricio; Karsdorp, Mancini, Smalling, Viña; Veretout, Oliveira; El Shaarawy, Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Abraham
Bench: Fuzato, Boer, Maitland-Niles, Kumbulla, Keramitsis, Cristante, Darboe, Bove, Perez, Zalewski, Felix, Shomurodov