Roma v Sassuolo preview: Milestone match for Mourinho

Roma are back from the international break on Sunday with a home match against Sassuolo, which will be a special occasion for Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese tactician’s fifth match in charge of Roma will be the 1000th overall of his managerial career, earning his place among some other legendary names.

He will hope to make it a day for double celebration, too; he has, somewhat surprisingly, never won the first five games in a row of any of his previous jobs, so this is a chance for another slice of personal history.

That said, Sassuolo look on paper to be one of Roma’s toughest opponents in the formative weeks of the season. Last term, they finished level on points with the Giallorossi, and they too have undergone a change in the dugout in recent months.

New boss Alessio Dionisi has earned them one win and one draw from their opening two Serie A matches, so it is a battle between two sides with early unbeaten records.

Despite several players reporting back from international duty with some physical concerns, Mourinho should have a largely strong squad available to him. The only major doubt is Matias Vina, who recovered from an injury he suffered while with Uruguay in the break, but has not long since got back to Italy.

Therefore, Riccardo Calafiori could be in for his first start of the season. The Primavera product came on as a substitute against Salernitana for eight minutes before the international break and now could get a longer cameo.

Mourinho also confirmed that Chris Smalling is available again after shaking off the injury that delayed his involvement in the new season. In addition, Nicolo Zaniolo, Gianluca Mancini and Lorenzo Pellegrini have been confirmed as being ready to play.

Roma have their first Europa Conference League match coming up a few days after this game, but Mourinho is only thinking about one game at a time. He vowed to pick a lineup as close to full strength as possible, rather than thinking about rotation.

The opponents, meanwhile, have a couple of familiar faces. Gianluca Scamacca and Davide Frattesi both came through the Roma academy ranks without ever playing for the first team, while Gregoire Defrel spent a season in the capital.

Their main danger men are Giacomo Raspadori, who scored his first goal for Italy through the week, and prolific winger Domenico Berardi, who is ready to return from a minor injury for his first appearance of the season.

Both fixtures against Sassuolo last season ended as draws, 0-0 at home and 2-2 away. But Roma have never lost a home tie with the Neroverdi since the opposition’s promotion to Serie A in 2013, which is a record to aim to preserve.

The game kicks off at 7:45pm UK time and will be shown live on BT Sport 1.

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