Mourinho: ‘It’s a Final for us; Zaniolo will play’

Roma coach Jose Mourinho revealed Nicolò Zaniolo will start against Zorya Luhanks on Thursday and stressed the team must do ‘everything’ to win. ‘If we win, we are in. If we lose, we are out’.

The Giallorossi prepare for the fifth match of the UEFA Europa Conference League on Thursday, when Zorya Luhansk arrive in the Italian capital.

Roma are currently second in Group C, behind Bodo/Glimt in the standings, but a win will ensure a place in the knockout stages of the new competition.

“If we win, we are in,” Mourinho said at a press conference. “If we lose, we are out. A draw leaves fate in our own hands.

“It will be a Final for us. It will be hard to go on for months with the championship and the Conference League, but it’s a ‘problem’ we want to have.”

Veretout ready for Roma’s ‘key’ match against Zorya

Matias Vina and Riccardo Calafiori are back in the group ahead of the game and Mourinho said it’s possible the former will start.

“We lost all left-backs,” Mourinho added. “Due to the emergency, we developed a different shape, but the squad is not made to play like this.

“The truth is that we played well and the players were forced to adapt. I didn’t think [Stephan] El Shaarawy could play like this, he has had an evolution where he now plays 90 minutes and against Genoa he was stopping balls on the line.

“Tomorrow we will seek balance and play [Jordan] Veretout. Vina trained with the team, we will decide on him. It’s possible that he will play.”

Mourinho was asked about the probable formation against the Ukrainian side and revealed Nicolò Zaniolo will play.

“Abraham? I’m really happy. He works a lot for the team and helps us a lot in the build-up,” Mourinho added. “Even defensively, in the way of pressing.

“He has learned to have another dimension as a team player. Sooner or later he will start scoring, at that point he will have everything. The injuries, however, have limited him.

“Tomorrow, he, Zaniolo and Rui Patricio will play. I don’t expect anything special from Zaniolo, I expect everything from the team, we have to do everything to win.

“I’m happy with how he celebrated in Genoa, for me it’s like he played 90 minutes.”

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