Serie A preview: Jose Mourinho will struggle to get a tune out of Roma in huge Napoli clash

Planet Sport looks ahead at the weekend's Serie A action. Can Jose Mourinho get a tune from Roma after hammering the club's fringe players?

Jose Mourinho is no stranger to publicly criticising his own players, but on Thursday night he took it to a new level after writing off all but his first XI at Roma.

Humiliated, Mourinho did not hold back after his side were hammered 6-1 in the Arctic Circle by Bodo Glimt in the Europa Conference League. It's the first time a team under his tutelage have shipped in six and they are a team, and not a squad as he pointed out afterwards.

Mourinho dismissed the capabilities of his fringe players after throwing them into the action in freezing conditions and on the astroturf in Norway.

Was he setting them up to fail, just to make a point to the Roma hierarchy that he needs heavy investment in a squad he feels is way below what he requires?

Only the Portuguese boss will know, but it's hardly ideal preparation to face a Napoli team, who are top and boast a 100% record in Serie A.

Just two players remained from their previous Serie A match - a defeat against Juventus - and one of those was keeper Rui Patricio, as Mourinho asked his fringe players to sink or swim.

Carles Perez, Gonzalo Villar, Stephan El Shaarawy, Borja Mayoral and Bryan Reynolds got starts. And they all sank.

"We have a very good team, we don't have a very good squad," Mourinho told Sky in Italy. "Today, we didn't play with the team, we played with the squad, and we were punished by that.

"If I could use the same players every match I would. It's risky because there's a huge gulf between our first choice and second choice players. I expected better, but it's my responsibility."

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He also told Viaplay: "They have more quality than us - their first team is a much better team than our second team. So it's my mistake. I wanted to rest players after Juventus, and before a game against Napoli, and I made this decision, and in the end, they are better players than my players, they are a better team than my team."

Mourinho will of course wheel back the big guns on Sunday, but at 9/5 with Planet Sport Bet it's hard to make a case for them.

The former Spurs boss made three changes at half-time and had the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Bryan Cristante, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Tammy Abraham on the pitch at the end.

Bodo Glimt were not phased though and added more goals in the 71st, 78th and 80th minutes to cap the humiliation.

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Of course Mourinho's outburst may have a rallying effect on his squad, but he struggled to get that result at Manchester United. He continually criticised individuals at Old Trafford, while at Tottenham he was no stranger to digging out his charges.

In April, after a draw at Newcastle, he questioned the abilities of some of his players: "We worked well, we worked hard, but there are mistakes that probably shouldn't really be called mistakes, because in the end they are related to qualities some players have."

For context, Spurs were beaten by Man Utd in their next game and it took them another two games to win against Southampton. So there was no bounce back.

More recently, Mourinho slammed Roma after a comfortable 5-1 win over CSKA Sofia. However, in their following match they lost 3-2 to Verona - so again the reaction was negative.

To make things worse for Roma, Napoli have an excellent recent record against Roma, winning four of the last five meetings in Serie A. And for their part, Luciano Spalletti was more measured in his approach to their European clash with Legia Warsaw.

Spalletti rotated his side, but kept a core of the team that rolled Torino over 1-0 in the last Serie A outing.

Napoli are worth supporting at 7/5 to maintain their perfect start, which has been built on a defence which has conceded just three goals.

The men from Naples have emerged as surprise challengers for the Scudetto and Spalletti appears to have already gleaned the right balance between defence and attack.

With that in mind the Partenopei are worth taking a chance on, while the under 2.5 goals line is also worth investing in.

The visitors' backline is a difficult animal to breach with the veteran Kalidou Koulibaly their defensive kingpin. Napoli have been more lethal away from home, but the 6/5 about under 2.5 goals looks like a value punt.

Inter Milan vs Juventus

After losing Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer all the early signs were that the Old Lady would struggle this season. And that proved to be the case, but of late they have found their feet.



And last weekend's 1-0 win over Roma was their fourth straight win in Serie A, while they are on a six-match winning run in all competitions.

With that momentum the 23/10 on the away win looks worth supporting.

Inter under Simone Inzaghi are making good progress and are the league's top scorers with 23 goals. But they do have a tendency to concede a lot of possession, not to mention missing guilt-edged chances.

They were held to a 2-2 home draw by Atalanta last month despite creating the better chances.

"Sometimes I make difficult goals look easy and other times I miss easy chances," striker Edin Dzeko told Sky Sport Italia this week.

And that may well come back to haunt him and Inter again against a Juve side, who are finding some consistency.

Best of the rest in Serie A betting

Andrea Belotti looks set to return to the starting line-up to boost Torino against Genoa on Friday night.

Belotti has recovered from a severe fibula injury and was a sub last weekend in Torino's 1-0 loss to Napoli.

Belotti's contract expires in June, but boss Ivan Juric insists the striker is committed to the cause.

"Not at all, he is a lion and I think his expiring contract is a good thing for everybody," said Juric when asked about the striker's mindset.

"When you're in this situation, you can't be more motivated."

Juric's side, who have just eight points, claimed a 1-1 draw at home to Lazio and only lost by the odd goal to Juventus and Napoli respectively.

As for Genoa, coach Davide Ballardini is under pressure after just one win in eight games. The Grifone's also have just three points in the last five matches and backing the hosts at 3/4 makes sense.

Atalanta host Udinese on Sunday morning looking to bounce back from their defeat at Manchester United.

The Italians were 2-0 up at Old Trafford but eventually lost 3-2.

Udinese have not won since the start of September, while Atalanta's best performances are usually reserved for away games.

There are likely to be goals and an Atalanta win along with both teams to score looks the play at 7/4.

Gian Piero Gasperini's men have won five of their last six games against Udinese. While both teams have scored in five of the last six games between the sides.

More importantly both teams have also scored in five of Atalanta's last six, while Udinese's last three outings have seen goals for both sides.

Read more: Betting preview: Chelsea vs Norwich - back the Blues, even with a lack of strikers

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