Roma looking for Abraham to find scoring touch again

MILAN (AP) — Tammy Abraham celebrated Roma teammate Gianluca Mancini’s goal against Juventus as wildly as if he had scored himself.

The Roma forward embraced his teammates as he screamed with passion and delight in front of the fans.

Abraham, however, has not scored one himself in more than a month and had been on the sidelines when Mancini got his goal after being benched at the start for the third straight match.

Abraham’s spirit pleased Roma coach José Mourinho, though.

“There’s only one Abraham I’m interested in and that’s the team player,” Mourinho said. “The team player who was on the bench in our last match against Juventus and celebrated Mancini’s goal as if he’d scored it himself.

“That’s the Abraham we need.”

That win against Juventus lifted Roma into the top four of Serie A, above fifth-place AC Milan on goal difference in a tight battle for the Champions League places. Head-to-head is the first tiebreaker at the end of the season.

Roma hosts Sassuolo on Sunday, a week before a crucial derby against Lazio — which is also vying for a top-four finish and is currently one point ahead of Mourinho’s team.

Mourinho and Roma will be hoping Abraham finds his scoring touch heading into the most crucial part of the season, with the Giallorossi also involved in the Europa League.

Abraham has scored only seven goals in 34 appearances this season. The England forward netted 27 times for Roma last campaign in his first season following his transfer from Chelsea.

“I realize that he could score more goals and reach the sort of numbers he hit last term, but the most important thing is that he contributes to the team,” Mourinho said. “In the last 15 minutes against Juventus, he toiled for the team and gave us what we needed.

“Tammy is fine and (Andrea) Belotti is fine. Often a striker’s performances are a reflection of the team’s. They didn’t play well against Cremonese because we were poor as a team. Both put in a huge shift for the team against Juventus.”

Abraham’s poor form of late has led to reports that Roma could sell him at the end of the season, with Premier League teams Aston Villa and Everton apparently interested at a cost of about 75 million euros ($79 million).

The fate of the 25-year-old Englishman likely depends on how he performs during the second part of this season.

“Whether he scores or not, his statistics, that doesn’t interest me,” Mourinho said. “This is a special week for Tammy, his first child was born.

“That’s an immense joy, that has increased his desire to play and score for us. But if he works well for the team, that’s enough for me.”


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Daniella Matar, The Associated Press