Jose Mourinho admits he made defensive substitutions in the 1-0 win over Salernitana to send a message to Roma over Andrea Belotti. ‘If you ask me would I prefer to have strikers of the same level…’



The Giallorossi started the season with three points and a clean sheet, as the Bryan Cristante deflected goal proved enough at the Stadio Arechi.

The trio of strikers impressed, but only went close to goals, Nicolò Zaniolo denied by Luigi Sepe and Paulo Dybala kept out by the upright.

Georginio Wijnaldum had the ball in the net after coming off the bench, but it was ruled offside.

“I liked everything. Obviously, I would’ve been happier to win 3-0 or 4-0, but I liked seeing the team that didn’t score the goals it should’ve done, yet still had the maturity to control the situation,” said Mourinho in his press conference.

“Usually when you waste three or four chances, it ends badly, but in this case we did not even suffer. Dybala and Zaniolo could’ve had a couple of goals each, but I also cannot say they did not have a fantastic game.”

Mourinho surprised by taking off Tammy Abraham on the hour mark, then removed Dybala and Zaniolo to focus on defend and counter.

He admitted this was a sign towards the club asking them to secure Andrea Belotti in place of out-going Eldor Shomurodov.

“There was evident fatigue, so the players I replaced them with – Matic, Wijnaldum – were not there to kill the game, they were there to control the situation.

“If you ask me, would I prefer to have strikers of the same level that I can replace the others with, of course I would. That is what Manchester City, Liverpool and a few Italian clubs can do.”

Belotti is a free agent and has rejected several offers from Wolves and Galatasaray because he is waiting for Roma.

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