Bologna draw shows AS Roma’s attention has turned to Europa League glory

Jose Mourinho's AS Roma team selection and the performance they put in away at Bologna has ended any confusion as to where the Giallorossi's focus lies this season.

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AS Roma coach Jose Mourinho gave the first indication that he had given up on qualifying for the Champions League via their Serie A position, with the Portuguese tactician selecting a reserve starting XI against Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on Matchday 35.

Despite AC Milan suffering a surprise home defeat to Spezia and Atalanta also losing against Salernitana the previous day, the former Inter coach had clearly decided in advance that Europa League progress is now the priority for the Romans this season.

The Rossoblu have struggled for points in the last few weeks, but Roma looked content to leave Emilia-Romagna with a point, after a timid 0-0 draw with Bologna, who also looked glad that the season was reaching its conclusion.

The starting eleven for Roma at Bologna featured Mile Svilar in goal, Filippo Missori on the right wing, Benjamin Tahirovic in the midfield and fringe players such as Ola Solbakken and Zeki Celik.

AS Roma’s Georgino Wijnaldum against Bologna. [@OfficialASRoma]

Bologna heading for disappointing end to the campaign

A few weeks ago, Bologna had quietly slipped into contention for a European place next season under the astute guidance of coach Thiago Motta, who was also being tipped to take the reins at Inter, should Simone Inzaghi leave.

However, the Rossoblu have won none of their last six fixtures and even though they are unbeaten at home since a mid-February loss to Monza, feint hopes of securing a credible top-half finish ended with the inability to breakdown a second-string Giallorossi.

AS Roma’s Nicola Zalewski and Bologna’s Riccardo Orsolini. [@ASRomaEN]

AS Roma’s Champions League hopes rest with Europa League progress

With the Giallorossi having now won none of their last six domestic fixtures, a top-four finish looks beyond Mourinho’s team, with just three games remaining and six points to make up on fourth-placed Lazio.

Roma have previously experienced the same run of winless games under the Portuguese coach and that also came during the last weeks of the season last term, when European success was also within their sights.

However, with a one-goal advantage going into the Europa League semi-final second leg with Bayer Leverkusen and their top four rivals unlucky to slip up, it is understandable that the four-time European winner focuses on continental success as a route to Europe’s top table.

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