Jose Mourinho joked ahead of Roma’s match against Empoli that his aim this season is to not get suspended. The Giallorossi find themselves without a win so far this season, but will be hosting an Empoli side who have lost their last three games on the bounce. Speaking ahead of the match, Mourinho reiterated that his team can’t be complacent, and offered an update on the status of his squad:
“Empoli are an organized team. I don’t remember an easy match against them. Over the course of this week we have worked with great desire to obtain the first three points of the season.”
“I’m afraid, however, that Smalling may not be available tomorrow. It’s unfortunate since he’s absolutely crucial for us. We’ll see how he does in training later today, that’s what it comes down to, really – if we are all available, healthy, in top condition and with more options off the bench then the whole shape of the team changes.”
“For example, Azmoun is a good option off the bench. He’s worked very hard in these last two weeks to reach top physical form.”
“Overall, I am very happy with the squad I have at my disposal. If we’re all healthy and in shape, we’re a very strong team with many quality players.”
“Lukaku is fine but has almost never trained with the team. He will start tomorrow. He looks good and could play the entire match. Paulo [Dybala] feels good and is confident. He will also start.”
“Dybala always gives us a great hand if he is well but we are always a little scared for him. Also let’s not forget Belotti and El Shaarawy who are important players.”
“Pellegrini is out, He’s expected to be out for the time being. Smalling is doubtful and Mancini should be able to make it thanks to Spalletti who recognized that Gianluca wouldn’t be able to continue and sent him back to us. Mancini will be available for us.”
“My goal is to win tomorrow and then do the same in the next one. I want to win them all from now on,” he added.
“My time at Roma? Having been able to play in two European finals and many matches in the last two seasons was very important for the joy of a city and then for the self-esteem of the group.”
“My goal for this year is to get zero suspensions. But if there is one thing I cannot change it is my DNA, my honesty and my truth. It’s a challenge to myself, but I’ll try not to have any problems with referees.”
“Totti’s return? I’m just the coach here. I’m not qualified to talk about a legend of Roma and I’m even less qualified to offer him a position at the club.”
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