Roma's second half of the season is in Mourinho's hands

From Karsdorp to Abraham: now more than ever José's hand is necessary. Module, performance and attitude, a shot from the whole team group is urgently needed

Mourinho during a training session in Trigoria

Mourinho during a training session in Trigoria (As Roma via Getty Images)

14 Dicembre 2022 - 13:01

Never before has Roma relied and needed to rely on Mourinho. The team needs to rely on his skills, his knowledge and his insights, to give a new and strong boost to the ambitions of the team, of the Giallorossi season and beyond. There is a lot of work to be done. Finally, on the pitch, it will be the reign of the Special One. There he has built all his successes, bringing many players, even big names, to overperform, to give everything for the supreme good that is the teams. From Abraham to Zaniolo, from a to z, there are many Giallorossi who will have to rise and increase the level of their performance.

For example, last year at this point in the season, after 15 league games and the 6 in the Conference League, Abraham had scored 10 goals (4 in the league and 6 in the Conference). While this year, he has scored only 4 (3 in A. 3 which is the second highest in the league, and 1 in EL). But there is not only the statistical figure to note, because the real sore point is related to the performance of the Englishman, who for the first time has been questioned even by Mourinho, who had previously always defended him. While it is true that the best Tammy last year was seen in the second half of the season, what he has done so far is not enough and cannot be enough for a team that has high-ranking ambitions. The Portuguese coach will have to find a way to revive the number 9, even going through some tactical changes.

A new system of play in this sense could lend a hand to the striker. The 4-2-3-1 would guarantee more presence in the opponent's half of the field and thus more assistance to the forward. Assuring the coach of assists and (many) more goals should be Pellegrini and Zaniolo, among others. If the captain (last year at this point of the season he had totaled 7 goals and 2 assists, this year he is instead at 4 and 7 respectively, still a good haul) is justified by frequently changing positions on the field, as he has been doubling up in the attacking midfielder and inside (in the 3-5-2) since the beginning of the season, the number 22 is one of the great absentees in the Giallorossi's offensive department. In the 14 games he has played so far he has scored once and assisted twice. This is too little for what his coach expects from him and for what he could give. Since the beginning of the year, the performance has been erratic, apart from the meager haul in the scoring zone.

Without Dybala up front, the situation is extremely complicated, but despite the shortcomings of the protagonists, the coach has the onus to find solutions to the problems of the team, which also due to the absences of some indispensable bigs (such as the number 21 and Wijnaldum) has slowly died down in results as well. The standings are short and fourth place is within reach, but the end of the season has seen the team collect only 2 points out of 9 in the matches against Lazio, Sassuolo and Torino, plus the explosion of the Karsdorp case. With the return of the two stars and the addition of Solbakken (who barring any sensational news will only be able to join the group in January), and hopefully a few more market hits, the average will have to rise again and with it the level of play expressed. The group trusts Mourinho blindly, as the players repeat in every interview. The Portuguese is at the center of the project and the team relies on his insights, such as that of the module change last year or the various youngsters pulled out of the hat with great benefits for the team, first and foremost Zalewski.

The other issue to be resolved for Mourinho, concerning the Dutch full-back, is one that puts thorns in the coach's side. The case of the departure of the former Feyenoord will need another valuable outside player, possibly capable of permanently fixing the right flank. There is expected to be days of hard work for Mourinho, who will have to find ways to get more out of the group from a character point of view and to find new tactical and technical solutions (Tahirovic is on the launch pad). So much (and hard) work, but if anyone can do it, it is the Special One. Roma relies on him.