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Written By Onyeka Daniel

Jose Mourinho and all Roma players and staff are refusing to speak to the media after their 1-1 draw with Fiorentina, which saw Romelu Lukaku and Nicola Zalewski sent off.

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The Giallorossi started brightly as Lukaku met a Paulo Dybala flicked cross with a header from six yards after five minutes, but after that, things went from bad to worse for the team. First, Dybala and Sardar Azmoun picked up injuries, then Zalewski was sent off for two bookable offences, Lucas Martinez-Quarta nodded in the equaliser for Fiorentina and finally Lukaku was shown a straight red card for his reckless sliding tackle on Christian Kouame.

After the second red, Mourinho had to get a ballboy to pass on a note to his goalkeeper, ex-Wolves star Rui Patricio, which presumably had instructions on it for how Roma should see out the game. But a third red card was also handed out too, with Nikola Milenkovic sent off for Fiorentina in injury-time.


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Down to nine men, they showed great strength as they held on through seven minutes of stoppages for a 1-1 draw, which means they are now fourth alongside Bologna and edge one point closer to Milan in third. The media silence is not an entirely unexpected gesture, although the club is not calling it an official ‘press silence’.

Imstead, reports has it that Mourinho walked through the media zone, saluted Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano and walked away. Following a week in which Mourinho had criticised referee Matteo Marcenaro, before their win over Sassuolo last time out, claiming he did not have the “emotional stability” to officiate their match, the coach was called for an in-person meeting with FIGC prosecutor Giuseppe Chiné, with the former Inter Milan manager at the risk of a ban, but that’s not all.

The team from the Eternal city risk being decimated for the crucial Serie A matches against Bologna, Napoli and perhaps even Juventus, due to injuries and suspension. After the incident against Fiorentina, the team will be decimated. Zalewski was dismissed for a second bookable offence and that will be an automatic one-match ban, so he should only miss the head-to-head for fourth place with Bologna on December 17.

However, Lukaku received a straight red card for a reckless studs-up tackle on Christian Kouame. It is entirely possible this will warrant a longer suspension, most likely two games, which would also rule him out of the clash with Napoli on December 23. There are also injury problems, as Dybala went off with what has initially been diagnosed as a flexor issue in the thigh.

He was replaced by Azmoun, who in turn also limped off injured with a suspected right calf strain. Leonardo Spinazzola was not even on the bench for the game and he is reported to be suffering from a right thigh injury that also requires further examination. The club already has long term injury absentees like Marash Kumbulla, Tammy Abraham and Chris Smallings Roma are joint fourth with Bologna, so the next match at the Stadio Dall’Ara.

Meanwhile…

Napoli and Roma are reported to be keeping an eye on RB Salzburg midfielder Maurits Kjaergaard for a January transfer swoop. The 20-year-old is the captain of the Denmark Under-21 international team, contributing six goals in 19 caps at that level.

His contract with Salzburg runs to June 2026 and he is currently out of action with a shoulder injury. According to a report from Italy, the asking price is going to be in the region of €15m and a sale is expected by the end of 2024. Napoli are hoping to make it a January move to reinforce their squad, especially as Diego Demme is expected to leave the club mid-season.

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Kjaergaard has played 15 competitive matches for RB Salzburg, contributing two goals and five assists. Other candidates for the Napoli directors include 22-year-old Bodo/Glimt midfielder Albert Gronbaek, who was also in the Denmark Under-21 squad.

Napoli are trying to revamp the squad for new coach Walter Mazzarri, having sacked Rudi Garcia last month, while Roma will be looking to bring in young players for their midfield as Renato Sanches has struggled to stay fit since joining from PSG on loan in the summer.

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