Roma v Spezia preview: Mourinho vs Motta as focus switches to Serie A

Roma return their focus to Serie A on Monday when they will be hoping to get back to winning ways in the league against Spezia.

Things took a step in the right direction with a Europa Conference League win over CSKA Sofia on Thursday, to ensure qualification as group winners, but back in Italy, Roma are aiming to halt a run of two defeats without scoring in a row.

The next opponents, Spezia, should give them a chance to rectify that – although they proved a tricky obstacle last season in both the league and in the debacle of the Coppa Italia.

Much has changed since those last meetings, including the coaches of both clubs. Roma’s Jose Mourinho will be aiming to outwit Spezia’s Thiago Motta, who used to play for him at Inter.

For the task, Mourinho will be relying on a similar setup to what he has been using recently. He hinted at the chance of Tammy Abraham and Borja Mayoral starting as a striker pair again after both scored in midweek. Other forwards like Stephan El Shaarawy, Nicolo Zaniolo and Carles Perez are unavailable, but Eldor Shomurodov and Felix Afena-Gyan can be alternatives.

In defence, Gianluca Mancini is suspended, so the back three should consist of Chris Smalling, Roger Ibanez and Marash Kumbulla. Mourinho has also indicated that he is always likely to stick with Rick Karsdorp and Matias Vina as his full-backs in the squad’s current state.

Therefore, it should be a largely familiar lineup – and one Mourinho will be hoping can gain three points.

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

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