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Mourinho: Salernitana will try to make it difficult for us

Roma face Salernitana on Sunday evening, looking to build on their winning start to the new Serie A season.

After winning his first three matches in charge, here's what the boss Jose Mourinho had to say ahead of the first away trip of the new league campaign...

Salernitana will be a different sort of challenge – you will have less space in the final third at your disposal. Are you thinking of changing your attacking tactics?

“Perhaps they will surprise you and they will come out with a different setup – you never know. Their coach has a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge about the game and can absolutely prepare them in a different way if he wants to. But, if it does end up being like you suggest, then obviously it will be a different sort of game for us.

“If they go with five at the back again, then it will be the first time for us this season – as both Fiorentina and Trabzonspor defended with a back four. It’s a different way of playing.

“But for us, we don’t care if we are playing a newly-promoted side like Salernitana or the champions like Inter – we will always play to win. So, given that, we will always need to find attacking solutions in games.

“Salernitana are good, they defend well. With so many players back, they know how hard their midfielders will have to work too. It will be tough, but we will have to work out a way.”

What do you make of Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to leave Juventus? And what difference does his departure make to the title race?

“The only thing I can say – which to me seems obvious – is that if Juventus, Cristiano and Manchester United are all happy, then it’s the perfect deal.

“I don’t think there is any need for me to talk about Ronaldo: he’s a player who has played, scored and won things for 20 years. He doesn’t need any further words to explain him.

“As for the league – that’s a question better asked to [Inter coach] Simone Inzaghi, not me.”

Among the players that could leave the club before the transfer window closes, is one of those Borja Mayoral? Or are you counting on him this season?

“I’m counting on him. We need three strikers. Having two for the entire season would be too big a risk. Sometimes we will want to play with two strikers and, with the Conference League games on Thursday and the need to travel back after away games on Sunday … we need to have three.

“For me he [Borja] is a great player, a quality player. Last year he came in and adapted well, he scored goals. He works hard, he’s a good lad and he’s a good professional. So I wouldn’t like it if he left.”

Do you like the fact the transfer window is still open, even after the season has started?

“If it was like this for every league, then yes. If it only applies to one or two leagues, then no. I experienced that [the window closing before others] when I was in England. You can’t buy players, but perhaps another [foreign] team can buy one of yours. It’s a risky situation.

“I think every coach would prefer to have their squad finalised at the start of July, so they can work on things as calmly as possible. But if you think it is only Italians that talk about this sort of thing then no, I can tell you from experience that’s not the case.”

When you talk about the forwards, and some of them playing together, are you thinking about changing the formation – perhaps to a 4-4-2 – or making one of the strikers start from a wider position?

“We can change as we need. Absolutely with different dynamics involved, but this team played all of last season with three at the back, so they know that system too. We can play as we are doing right now and we change things too.

“Today in football it’s very difficult to have just one way of setting your team up, one way of building attacking chances. You need to be flexible. The players need to get comfortable with certain fixed ideas, but at the same time you need to create a tactical culture that allows them to play in different systems and with different roles.”

Do you have anything to say about those players currently not involved in your first-team squad, and those that are advising them?

“It’s not easy for me to comment. They are players with different desires, with people around them offering different perspectives. If I have to talk about Pedro, for example, then he wanted to play football – and for this reason we had to respect his desire, even if he chose to sign for a rival club. You have to respect his professionalism, his approach to things: ‘I want to play, I have a chance to play and so we need to find a solution’. That’s the sort of attitude all clubs want, especially those who have to make decisions about new signings.

“And when a club decides its first-team squad and then those for whom it wants to find an alternative solution, then there are different dynamics involved: some of those [players on the outside] really want to play, whereas others prefer something else instead of playing and then everything becomes more complicated as a result of that.

“That being said, everyone is free to do what they think they need to do – just as we, as a club, and myself as the coach are free to take the decisions I want to make.”

 
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