Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo during Wednesday's loss to Bologna
Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo during Wednesday's loss to Bologna

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho suggested for Nicolo Zaniolo to start thinking about a move away from Serie A as he vented his frustration with refereeing in Italy's top flight.

Mourinho watched on as fifth-placed Roma suffered a 1-0 defeat at Bologna in Serie A action on Wednesday.

Roma boss Mourinho was agitated post-match after star forward Tammy Abraham and full-back Rick Karsdorp were both ruled out of Saturday's clash against reigning champions Inter due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Zaniolo – who has yet to score in Serie A this term, though he has managed two goals in the Europa Conference League – was also booked for diving

"I'll have to invent the line-up on Saturday," Mourinho told DAZN following the fixture as he turned his attention to 22-year-old Italian forward Zaniolo, who sat out the entire 2020-21 campaign due to another anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

"Luckily, I replaced [Gianluca] Mancini. Otherwise, he may have been booked too.

"I will finish with one observation. I want to say something that probably goes against my interests: if I were Nicolo Zaniolo, I would start thinking that perhaps playing in Serie A means things will be stacked against me."

This was former Inter coach Mourinho's first defeat against Emilian teams in Serie A – the Portuguese before Wednesday's match had a record of four wins in as many games against Bologna.

Roma have gained 25 points in their first 15 league matches. In the last 10 Serie A seasons, including the current campaign, only in 2018-19 have they claimed fewer points after 15 matches (21).

"Credit to Sinisa [Mihajlovic] and Bologna, they played a great game. But credit to my players too. They gave it their all against everything and everyone," said Mourinho.

"Injuries before the game, injuries during the game, 'hidden' injuries to players who played the full 90 minutes. Then there were a few incidents but my players kept fighting.

"I am proud of these guys, I don't have negative feelings towards them."

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