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Fonseca: Mkhitaryan will return to the starting line-up

Paulo Fonseca spoke to the media ahead of Roma's Serie A game against Hellas Verona on Sunday evening (20:45 CET kick-off).

Read what the Giallorossi boss had to say.

Will Antonio Mirante and Henrikh Mkhitaryan return to the starting line-up tomorrow?

“Mirante won't but Mkhitaryan will. Micki will be back in the starting XI tomorrow.”

When will Edin Dzeko rejoin the group?

“I understand you're curious about this but it's not something I wish to talk about now. We'll see next week.”

Will Lorenzo Pellegrini be the captain from now until the end of the season?

“Now is not the right time to discuss that either. We have to concentrate on the match and on how difficult Verona are going to be because they're a great team. We must focus on that.”

Will you find a way for Dzeko to play?

“There's been a lot of speculation this week and I don't want to fuel anything. Right now we have to focus on the game, on Roma and on how important it is for Roma to win.”

How have the other players reacted to the Dzeko situation?

“I don't need to talk about this. We saw how the team did against Spezia. That says it all.”

Verona have the best defence in the league, with just 18 goals conceded, but they concede lots of shots. Do they have the best goalkeeper in the league?

“It doesn't depend on one player alone. The numbers show that Verona are the best team at defending. They have a different way of defending, with man-to-man marking, but they're very good at it. They stop you from playing.”

Why do you think Carles Perez is unable to express his full potential after a year at Roma?

“We mustn't forget that he's a young player and he's improving. He played well against Spezia and we believe in him. He has to keep working to help the team as he always does when he plays.”

Would Borja Mayoral be your first-choice striker anyway, regardless of other matters?

“I've very happy with how he's playing. He's done well. He's working hard, playing for the team and scoring goals. He's young too and hasn't been in Italy for long. We know how difficult it is for a young striker to score as many as he has. He's in good form.”

What can Stephan El Shaarawy bring to Roma? Do you think he can adapt to your playing system?

“I think he can, yes. El Shaarawy knows Serie A well and he has the right attributes to help the team. I sensed how keen he was to come back to Roma and that's very important. It's good to know and to see that El Shaarawy loves Roma.”

Could Marash Kumbulla start tomorrow's game?

“Kumbulla is always a possibility.”

Atalanta and Verona wear down opponents with their constant pressing, a bit like Leeds in the Premier League. while Leipzig play a slightly different pressing game in the Bundesliga, but it's just as frenetic. Do you think football is becoming more about reacting to the opposition or is there just less quality than there used to be?

“There aren't many teams that play that way in Europe, but they do it very well. Verona have a very good coach and he's doing a great job. The players believe in his way of playing and they're implementing it well. They're a very good side who play a different way.”

Verona have done well against the big teams too.

“I think it's easy to understand why that happens. A team like Verona clearly want to play and have the ball and it's hard to play your game against them. It's always difficult for opponents to change the way they play during a game. We must understand how we want to play in this match.”

Roma have five players who are one booking away from a suspension. Will that affect your team selection tomorrow, considering that your next game is against Juventus?

“No, we have to think about tomorrow's game. We'll see afterwards how we're set for Juventus.”

 
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