Jose Mourinho retained his focus on patience as he prepared for his first Serie A game as Roma head coach.
Roma will welcome Fiorentina to Stadio Olimpico on Sunday on the back of their win over Trabzonspor in the Europa Conference League play-off round first leg.
At his pre-match press conference, Mourinho was asked about a range of topics – including the transfer market, his lineup choices, and what it will be like to have Roma fans in attendance at the game.
Here are some of the key areas he discussed.
On how many changes he will make
“We are ready, even if we only played 48 hours ago. But the sport today is like that. Having squad depth can help us in tougher moments. Against Trabzonspor we saw what a difference it makes to the intensity when you have played a few more competitive games.
“I won’t make a lot of changes tomorrow; we need to play and to get minutes in our legs. We have this game, Trabzonspor and then Salernitana before the first international break. We need to push forward to then.”
On whether Tammy Abraham might play
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“As for Abraham: tomorrow he will be in the squad. He has not trained this week with the team, he’s been training alone because those are the current rules. But he has played pre-season at Chelsea, he’s played in some decent games with them and I think he’s physically ready to play. It’s been a tough week for him, though, with all the travelling and the medical tests and the paperwork that has had to be signed. But he will be with us.
“We have three forwards – Borja Mayoral, him, Eldor Shomurodov – and I am delighted to have them.”
On previous comments that he is “missing something” from the transfer market
“I said that our transfer activity has been reactive, based on emerging needs. Because of that we haven’t signed a few players that were part of my initial vision, my analysis for what could be important to balance out the squad. However, when a club has reacted as fantastically as we have to the problems that the market have thrown up for us, I do not have any right to apply any sort of pressure. And I will continue to hide behind a key word in all this: ‘Time’. Time is key to our project.
“Time is a word that brought me here to Roma. It will be difficult to make a big leap. My task is to work, to work with the players we currently have. And then to be given the time to build on that. If we can’t build on that now then we will do it in January, if we cannot do it in January then we will do it the following summer. I hope that this might be the last time we talk about this.
“However, to repeat, I am extremely pleased with the efforts the club have made in the market and the way they have been with me and with this project. I don’t have any right to ask anything more. We will work with what we have, with the positive feeling that I like to see. We will go into every game looking to win; there won’t be any game where we won’t look to win.”
On Bryan Reynolds’ development and Alessandro Florenzi’s departure
“There’s not a lot I can say yet about Reynolds – we’ve only been working together for a month or so. Physically he has great attributes to be a full-back, that’s clear. Tactically and technically he needs to improve, but he’s coming from a completely different environment so that is normal. He’s never played in Europe, he’s still very young.
“As for Florenzi, I want to wish him well for the season – I hope he’s happy in Milan, although I also hope that he ends up finishing behind us. We spoke together once, and on that occasion he was clear about what he wanted to do and that was to go to Milan. The club listened to the player’s wishes, which were to go.”
On the boost the Roma fans can provide at the stadium
“Their passion is tremendous. I’ve felt that, as an opponent. It’s over a year now that fans haven’t been able to go to the stadium. If they really play their part alongside us, it will be much more difficult for Fiorentina to go home with a positive result.”