Roma v Milan preview: Mancini to maintain midfield position

Paulo Fonseca refused to comment on the speculation linking Jack Rodwell with a move to Roma at his press conference to preview the clash with Milan.

Rodwell trained with Roma yesterday, along with ex-Empoli man Marcel Buchel, with a view to the standout player signing as a free agent to cover the club’s midfield injury crisis, but Fonseca would not get drawn into revealing how things went for either player – instead confirming that natural defender Gianluca Mancini was likely to continue in the role.

“I’ll only speak about a player if he’s part of the squad,” Fonseca said. “If there’s any news, we’ll tell you about it. Right now, I’m fully focused on tomorrow’s game against Milan.

“Yes, it’s possible [that Mancini plays in midfield], particularly as we don’t have many alternatives at the moment. He played well and there’s no need to make any changes in that regard.”

Fonseca also remained coy on the chances of Alessandro Florenzi playing as a winger to compensate for the injuries (and Justin Kluivert’s one-match suspension), with Cengiz Under one game away from being fit enough to feature in the squad, Henrikh Mkhitaryan still not back in training, and Diego Perotti not ready for 90 minutes.

“At the moment I’m considering all options, given the reduced size of the squad. I’m not ruling anything out in that position.

“Perotti has been training with us for a while. He’s ready to play, but I don’t know if he’ll last the 90 minutes.

“As for [Javier] Pastore, with the games coming thick and fast at the moment, it’s not been possible to do much rotation. It’s true that he’s played more than he normally would, but we can’t afford to make too many changes.

“Miki hasn’t resumed training with us yet. Cengiz will join up with the group today. He won’t be ready for tomorrow, but will be available for the following game.”

Roma will be hosting a Milan side who have endured a poor start to the season, leading to the sacking of Marco Giampaolo – once linked with taking over the Giallorossi before Fonseca got the job. The Rossoneri have installed Stefano Pioli as their new boss, the former Lazio manager who was sacked by Roma’s rivals on the same day that Florenzi scored his first Derby Della Capitale goal in a 4-1 win in 2016.

Pioli’s first game saw Milan surrender a lead to draw 2-2 with promoted side Lecce, so this could have been one of Roma’s best chances to record an emphatic win against a historically strong club. However, with the injuries piling up, it won’t be that easy.

Star Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek came off the bench to score his first goal from open play this season against Lecce, and if given a starting berth, he will be a dangerous opponent for Roma’s defence, which has found a new resolution since Chris Smalling came into the side. The English defender is already being suggested as a target for Roma to sign on a permanent basis after his bright start, but this could be his toughest test yet.

The game kicks off at 5pm UK time and will be shown live on Premier Sports 1.

Giallorossi Yorkshire editor Samuel Bannister spoke on the SempreMilan podcast this week to preview the game in more detail. Make sure to listen to it here.

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