Mourinho expects tough match versus “ambitious” Empoli

Jose Mourinho of AS Roma

Roma boss José Mourinho previewed his team’s next league clash tomorrow evening versus Empoli.

The Giallorossi travel to Tuscany to face Andrea Andreazzoli’s side with the chance to extend their winning streak in all competitions to three.

Mourinho was asked about his team’s inconsistency throughout the season and took responsibility for some of Roma’s up’s and down’s.

“First, I’d like to begin my sending my condolences to the family of (Gianni) Di Marzio. As for the team, you’re first remembering the things we did wrong,” he said.

“But it’s easier for me to talk about the good things we’ve seen, such as the 70 minutes against Juve or the second half against Lecce. We’ve talked enough about the Juve match, we won’t ever hide behind excuses.”

“The first half against Lecce was my fault. I was too focused on the match against Empoli and I didn’t help the team. Luckily we were aware of it and we made some changes.”

As for tomorrow’s affair, both Chris Smalling and Stephan El Shaarawy are expected to recover and made available following minor injuries.

“Smalling is fine, maybe not at his best but he’s trained with the team for the past two days,” answered Mourinho. “We’ll have all four of our central defenders available tomorrow.”

“Two months ago Kumbulla didn’t have my total trust, but he’s won it now thanks to his humility, hard work, and openness to criticism. I don’t think I’ve ever had four central defenders available.”

“El Shaarawy will be called-up, too. We’ll only be without Spinazzola and Pellegrini. Though, I’ve been read some things that called tomorrow an easy match…if you say so. I’d ask you to take a look at Milan-Spezia and Inter-Empoli in the Coppa Italia.”

He continued, “The gap in Serie A is shrinking just like the Premier League, which is good. Empoli are having a good season and they have a lot of quality in their game.”

“We’ll have to play well in order to win. Empoli score lots of goals–if I’m not mistaken, they’ve only failed to score a goal once in their past ten matches. They play with a lot of ambition.”

Finally, Portuguese technician also discussed some of the individuals within his side and the impact they’ve had so far this season.

“We can go wherever Tammy us or where we take Tammy. He’s not doing badly in his first season considering he changed leagues and countries,” Mourinho stated about the Giallorossi’s leading goalscorer.

“He’s got good numbers plus he doesn’t take penalties and he’s hit the woodwork several times. But honestly, I expect more and he has room to improve, especially in terms of his quality in the penalty area.”

He added, “With the way he’s playing and working, I expect more and more, but we’re all together. We hope that when he grows so will the team.”

“But I think the current league table is fair, it properly reflects who have been the best 4-5 teams so far this season. We can absolutely get there, yes. Next season, with work, absolutely we can get there yes.”

“Just look at how long it’s taken some of the others to build their teams. We’re right there.”

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