Roma have a chance to extend their unbeaten streak in Serie A to eight on Sunday evening when they travel to Friuli to face Udinese.
The Giallorossi haven’t lost in Serie A since their January 9th collapse to Juventus–earning 4 wins and 3 draws since that time. This strong run of form has renewed their hopes in a potential top four finish as they sit six points behind the Bianconeri in the table.
Their positive string of recent results has been due to, in part, significantly improved defensive performances. After struggling at the back throughout the season, Mourinho’s men have kept three clean sheets in a row in all competitions.
The former Spurs boss discussed his team’s recent improvements after yesterday’s 1-0 Conference League win over Vitesse. He also credited his team’s newly found balance and maturity for their recent turnaround.
He stated, “They (Vitesse) gave us some trouble in the first half. But in the second half I never felt like we were going to concede – I was very confident they would not score.”
“Now, perhaps, for the first time we have a bit more stability as far as injuries go, with Leonardo Spinazzola the only one still out.”
He continued, “Against Udinese we won’t have Mkhitaryan and Kumbulla – and against Vitesse we won’t have Sergio and Mancini now – but we have a few different options to respond to that.”
“The side has a better idea now of when to play and when to be a bit more pragmatic about things. We have managed to shed that habit of being a bit naïve – even during the difficult moments today the team found a way to respond positively.”
Udinese, meanwhile, enter the clash with their own unbeaten streak. The Zebrette have tallied 1 win and 2 draws since their February 13th defeat versus Hellas Verona. Last weekend they beat Sampdoria 2-1 after scoring twice within the first fifteen minutes of the match.
Furthermore, they’ll be forced to deal with the absence of midfield stalwart Walace. The Brazilian will be serving his one-match suspension due to yellow card accumulation. He’s expected to be replaced by Jean-Victor Makengo.
The two sides kick-off on Sunday evening at 18.00 CET at the Dacia Arena in Udine.
(3-5-2): Silvestri; Becão, Mari, Pérez; Molina, Arslan, Makengo, Pereyra, Udogie; Deulofeu, Beto
Bench: Padelli, Gasparini, Benkovic, Soppy, Jajalo, Ballarini, Nuytinck, Zeegelaar, Pussetto, Success, Nestorovski
(3-4-1-2): Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibañez; Karsdorp, Cristante, Oliveira, Zalewski; Pellegrini; Zaniolo, Abraham
Bench: Fuzato, Boer, Bove, Diawara, Maitland-Niles, Volpato, Viña, Veretout, Pérez, El Sharaawy, Shomurodov