Can Mourinho Lead Roma to Another European Final?
Out of place in Serie A, Roma may depend on Jose Mourinho once again to lead them on a long European run so that their season will be saved.
Mourinho is in his third campaign in charge in the Italian capital and has already led Roma to victory in the inaugural Europa Conference League and then to a Europa League final which they lost to Sevilla on penalties.
Yet in Serie A, they continued to delay, having finished sixth in each of the Portuguese coach’s two campaigns.
They are recently seventh, 11 games into this season, and that is only after a reasonable comeback to win Lecce 2 – 1 at the Stadio Olimpico last weekend, with Sardar Azmoun and Romelu Lukaku both scoring stoppage–time goals.
Roma are 11 points unanchored of the leaders, Mourinho’s old side inter, and four points behind Napoli in fourth, with a race showdown against Lazio to come this Sunday.
It is achievable, then, that they may need Europa League success if they are to make it into next season’s Champions League, which is the stage or point where they and Mourinho want to be.
Given a kind draw, Roma have a 100 percent record thus far in Group G, having bearing Sheriff Tiraspol 2 – 1 in Moldova and Swiss side Serviette 4 – 0 at home before a 2 – 0 conquer of Slavia Prague last time out.
They have moved to the Czech Capital to encounter Slavia again on Thursday, knowing a win will protect their place in the knockout stage again.
Lukaku’s form has been key to Roma this season both domestically and in Europe with the Belgian Striker scoring 9 times in 12 games since joining on loan from Chelsea at the end of his most current spell at inter.
He has especially acquired in every Europa League game thus far and Roma’s chances of getting a third European final in as many seasons under Mourinho may hook on Lukaku being fit and firing.
Mourinho opined after the win over Slavia a fortnight ago:
“He scores everywhere and in all competition, when he is on your side, you have more chance to win”.
Roma are not the only team that can settle for a place in the knockout stage this week. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will expand if they can make it four wins out of four in Group E when they visit Toulouse, having beaten the French side 5 – 1 at home last time out.
German Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen have the highest points and so could finish a berth in the knockout phases with a win over Qarabag in Azerbaijan.
Flying under the guidance of Xabi Alonso, Leverkusen are undefeated in all competitions this season and have won their last 10 games, with Nigerian striker Victor Boniface who’s already into double figures for goals.
He was acquired six times in last season’s Europa League for Belgian side union Saint–Gilloise before moving to Germany in July.