Roma and Lazio square off tomorrow evening in the second edition of the Derby della Capitale this season.
Only one point separates the two sides in the Serie A table with both still fighting for the fourth and final Champions League place.
The Giallorossi enter the affair on a nine match unbeaten streak–their last defeat coming against Inter in the Coppa Italia over one month ago. Though, fatigue could come into play following their Conference League success last Thursday over Vitesse.
Roma boss Jose Mourinho was asked about his approach to tomorrow’s showdown against their in-city rivals and the emotions his team is feeling ahead of the clash.
“It’s a Derby. It’s never like other matches. It just has something more about it. For my whole career, for 20 years I’ve had derbies,” he said.
“The first was the Lisbon derby [Benfica and Sporting Lisbon], the most recent is this one in Rome. But, amid those emotions, there is a bit of deja vu – we have become a bit accustomed to it too.”
The Special One was also asked about his side’s recent habit of scoring decisive goals in the final minutes of matches, including Thursday’s Conference League match.
“All of those games were in the balance at one point or another, where you are trying to find either the resilience to hold onto a winning position or the strength to come back from a deficit. We did that.”
“We also did that in the first derby this season; they won 3-2 but we were right in it until the very end trying to get a better result.”
As for their opposition, Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri rejected the idea that tomorrow’s Derby clash is also a rivalry between the two former Chelsea bosses.
“The Derby is the Derby, it’s a game that stands on its own. It’s a unique event and should be treated a such, you don’t need to look at the table or any other factors,” Sarri said.
“But there’s no rivalry between Mourinho and I. Tomorrow’s it’s a match between Lazio and Roma, certainly we shouldn’t put ourselves above these two teams.”
The teams will be at nearly 100% with each having to deal with one major absence: Leonardo Spinazzola for Roma while Mattia Zaccagni misses out for Lazio due to suspension.
The match kicks-off at 18.00 CET at the Stadio Olimpico with referee Massimiliano Irrati overseeing the affair.
(3-4-1-2): Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Kumbulla; Karsdorp, Oliveira, Mkhitaryan, Zalewski; Pellegrini; Zaniolo, Abraham
Bench: Fuzato, Boer, Maitland-Niles, Viña, Ibañez, Cristante, El Shaarawy, Bove, Darboe, Diawara, Veretout, Perez, Felix, Shomurodov
(4-3-3): Strakosha; Lazzari, Luiz Felipe, Acerbi, Marusic; Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto; Anderson, Immobile, Pedro
Bench: Reina, Adamonis, Kamenovic, Hysaj, Akpa Akpro, Basic, Cataldi, Cabral, Romero, Moro