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Jose Mourinho Reveals Which Player He Is Worried About Ahead Of Roma’s Clash Against Sassuolo

Written By Onyeka Daniel

Roma were unable to make the most of their chances in the Europa League, drawing against Swiss club, Servette and their manager, Jose Mourinho criticized some of his players in the post match conference of that game. This weekend, the Giallorossi will be facing Sassuolo away from home and the former Chelsea and Inter Milan coach refuses to name the Roma players he was criticising, but insists what ‘worries’ him about the Sassuolo game are Domenico Berardi and the referee.

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While they seem to have got their season back on track in Serie A to climb into fifth place, but on Thursday were held to a 1-1 draw in Geneva by Servette. That result means they are almost certain to be heading into the Europa League play-offs in February, against one of the teams dropping down from the Champions League.

Mourinho was furious at many of his players after that match, complaining they had a poor mentality and were not doing enough to earn an opportunity. “In sport you are only an individual when you are along, not when you share responsibility. This is why I like sports such as tennis, as it takes courage and character to be there until the end and when you lose, you cannot look around to blame anyone else,” said Mourinho in today’s press conference.

“As the coach of a collective sport like football, I look around and analyse individual sports for that kind of mentality. You are wasting your time though if you want to ask me which players I was referring to. I spoke about it in the locker room, between us. “The more positive the rapport, the easier it is to say ugly truths to each other. I said what I thought and continue to think. I have a very good rapport with the team and this helps us go into a game with Sassuolo that I am not afraid of, but certainly leaves me ill at ease.”


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The Special One complained after the Servette draw that some of his players had a ‘superficial’ attitude and did the bare minimum in this competition, seeing the Europa League as somehow beneath them. “I will not turn a blind eye, I told my players today that if we want more, then we have to get out of our comfort zone. I want more adrenaline, as if we needed points to secure safety. Many coaches get their teams to play well with no responsibility, but I told the lads to step it up and not be so superficial.

“At Real Madrid I won with 100 points in a season and lost with 93 points. If you drew one day, it was a huge problem, so we always had to win and that was not easy. We do not have the potential to fight with Juventus and Inter for the Scudetto, our potential is fourth or fifth.” The lengthy and on-going absence of Chris Smalling has left Roma short-staffed in defence, while Renato Sanches is still nowhere near fully fit.

“I don’t wish to be interpreted negatively, because I know the situation, and I feel we are underestimated as a coach, technical staff, the team for what we are doing, fighting it out with sides who have a very different potential. Without injuries, my squad can fight it out, but without Smalling for months… When Evan Ndicka arrived, Tiago Pinto told me he was perfect to be on the bench and grow with me, but he had to immediately be a starter. I had to drop Bryan Cristante into defence to fill the gaps.”

Mourinho was asked what he is most concerned about at the Mapei Stadium, and after insisting his players should not blame others for their shortcomings, he immediately pointed towards the referee. “Sassuolo are a good team, they have a good coach and only have to play one game per week. To be honest, I will say that I am worried about the referee. We had this official three times and I don’t think he has the emotional stability to work at this level.

“It is not just Sassuolo-Roma, we are three points off the Champions League places and it Is a very important match for us. I am not relaxed about the referee or the VAR, who we were also often unlucky with. “I am worried about Berardi, who is a fantastic player, I love him, but he needs to show more respect for his opponents. He mocks other players and gets them booked, so I love and hate him. I don’t like that kind of behaviour on the field and I would really dislike seeing that from one of my players.

“I am sure tomorrow with Marcenaro as the referee, Gianluca Mancini will get a yellow card after 10 minutes against Berardi and be suspended against Fiorentina.” Roma are hamstrung by Financial Fair Play issues and cannot even register Sardar Azmoun for the Europa League. “The situation is complicated. If we are able to do something in January, that will be very positive for us, but if it’s not possible, then it’s not possible and we have to make do with what we have. “I will say one thing a coach who is a friend of mine said: The unlucky team is the one that goes from the Champions League to play against us in the Europa League play-offs.” He concluded.

Meanwhile…

Piotr Zielinski is no closer to signing a new deal with Napoli and clubs are already circling for his signature in the summer. The 29-year-old, who played a key role in last season’s Scudetto success, was heavily linked with a move to Saudi Arabia in the summer. He decided not to make the jump and entered the last year of his contract with the Partenopei, who opened renewal talks.

Talks with Napoli have seemingly stalled and everything has fallen quiet regarding Zielinski’s contract, making him an attractive prospect to clubs in Italy and abroad. This term, he’s netted three goals and provided three assists across 18 matches.

Read Also: “We Can’t Stop Now” Massimiliano Allegri Urges His Players On After Late Winner

As reported by Tuttosport, Inter are planning to offer Zielinski a four-year contract worth around €4-4.5m net per season plus add-ons. He currently earns circa €3m-per-year with Napoli. The Nerazzurri believe the 29-year-old Pole would be the perfect addition to Simone Inzaghi’s midfield, being tactically flexible and possessing useful technical qualities.

But they’re not alone in the race as Juventus are also interested, but they will prefer a move in the winter, a move that Napoli will definitely reject. Roma can also try to make a move, but they will first have to make it into the top four, still, they will struggle to offer him the right type of salary, but one thing is for sure, he will be getting more playing time with the Giallorossi.

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