AS Roma wanted to improve on their standing in the Italian Serie A in their Matchday 16 fixture against Bologna FC 1909 at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, but Jose Mourinho’s men did not get what they wanted, losing to the home side for their fifth defeat in the Italian top-flight football in the 2023/2024 Season. Nevertheless, the disappointing loss was not the news that dominated the Italian newspaper football section, as Mourinho made an usual call to substitute Renato Sanches less than 20 minutes after the midfielder stepped onto the pitch, and the Portuguese manager publicly apologised for his action during the post-match conference.
Let us delve into what happened to Sanches in the match.
What Happened to Sanches in the AS Roma-Bologna FC 1909 Match?
The visiting AS Roma were down 2-0 against the home team of Bologna after less than 50 minutes, thanks to a strike and an own goal from Nikola Moro and Rasmus Kristensen respectively. The 26-year-old 2016 UEFA European Championship-winning player Sanches was brought onto the field before the first whistle of the second half, but Mourinho decided to replace the younger Portuguese with 21-year-old Italian midfielder Edoardo Bove moments after the hour mark, leaving not only Sanches, but also many in the stadium in shock over the premature substitution.
AS Roma were not able to find a goal in the entire evening and would go on to lose the match despite having more shots on target (Three vs. two from Bologna) as a result. Furthermore, the 2-0 defeat costed Mourinho’s team to miss the chance to leapfrog Bologna FC 1909, SSC Napoli and ACF Fiorentina to the Top Four positions of the Italian Serie A.
AS Roma Gaffer’s Statement on Sanches’ Premature Substitution
In light of his decision to replace Sanches 18 minutes after he was called onto the pitch, Mourinho had this to say during the post-match conference: “With Renato we live in a situation of hope, we always think that space, certain responsibilities, adrenaline are the ideal way to help him make the leap. He has emotional scars, he has many fears due to past injuries. He works at low intensity, on everything we do. He improves in volume and in workload but never in intensity. In the last match against Sheriff he had given us 60 minutes of hope, and today I thought about inserting him because the team could have benefited from his quality.”
The former manager of FC Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur and current AS Roma boss told the press that he was apologetic towards his younger compatriot Sanches. “But then I realized I had made a mistake, because he wasn’t ready to make this leap in such an intense setting. I’m sorry… The last time I did this to a player before Renato was Matic, and I’m terribly sorry about this but today I couldn’t leave the team with a player who had become frustrated. I had to make this decision,” said the 60-year-old.
AS Roma will next welcome last season’s champions Napoli to Stadio Olimpico Tour for their following league encounter, before they close the calendar year of 2023 for good with a visit to Allianz Stadium to face Juventus a day before New Year’s Eve.
🇵🇹 José Mourinho: “I wanna apologize to Renato Sanches. Subbing him off after 18 mins is tough for the player but same for the manager”.
“I did this 3-4 times during my career. I’m sorry with Renato”. pic.twitter.com/t9o4Jja79Q
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 17, 2023