Mourinho Beat Allegri at His Own Game with Special Move

An unusual choice by José Mourinho played a big role in Roma nipping Juventus in the past round. The Portuguese gaffer decided to bench his strikers, Tammy Abraham and Andrea Belotti, to go with Paulo Dybala as a false-nine and Georginio Wijnaldum in the hole next to Lorenzo Pellegrini. It’s the second time he used such solution. The other one was in the clash with Inter, which the Giallorossi also took home, La Gazzetta dello Sport informs.

Massimiliano Allegri admitted that he didn’t see the tweak coming. The two attacking midfielders pressed the center-backs a lot, jamming the Old Lady’s build-up. The Dutchman then became a box-to-box after Gianluca Mancini’s pearler.

Rather than leaning on long balls and their forward’s physicality, as they often do, the capital side kept it on the ground, trying to surprise the opposing defenders with their speed and without giving them reference points. While they didn’t create a lot, it was enough to win. In addition, it contributed to Mancini being wide open in the final third before his successful piledriver. Mourinho ordered to track back once they scored, and they resisted, also thanks to some luck, as Juventus rattled the woodwork multiple times.

Roma have gotten used to narrow victories, especially at home, where their back-line has been particularly imposing. They haven’t conceded in the past five fixtures at the Stadio Olimpico. They have kept six clean sheets in the last then matches.

Allegri is often touted as the master of the ‘corto muso’ strategy, but Mourinho has collected 12 one-nil wins since taking over Roma. Only Xavi’s Barcelona has prevailed more times with the smallest margin the since the summer of 2021, doing so in 13 instances.

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