ITALY: Renato Sanches scores as Mourinho’s Roma hit SEVEN against Empoli

Roma 7-0 Empoli

Renato Sanches is off the mark at Roma after scoring in a sensational 7-0 victory for José Mourinho’s side over Empoli in Serie A on Sunday evening.

On what was his first start for the Giallorossi since a summer move from Paris Saint-Germain, Renato headed in the second before being substituted at half time by Mourinho, who later insisted he was not totally satisfied with the performance.

“It was a very important moment, because it was my first start and it is always difficult coming off an injury,” Renato told the Italian media after the match.

“I am very happy to be here, happy to score and happy to win our first game of the season.”

Lukaku needs to feel loved - Mourinho

Another of the evening’s goalscorers will have particularly pleased Mourinho, with Romelu Lukaku finding the net for the first time since his high-profile move from Chelsea, having turned out for rivals Inter on loan last season.

“Romelu needs to be happy, needs to feel loved and wanted,” Mourinho explained. “He arrived here, immediately realised the team needed a player like him. He is a guy who likes to win.

“I don’t think Inter have any reason to be angry, because they won the derby 5-1 and have so many extraordinary strikers. So they ought to be happy for their ex-coach who really needed a striker.

“Today? It was a good performance, but it was not a 7-0 performance. We played to win, to win in a comfortable fashion. There were a few ups and downs, including in terms of fitness, so we could tell there were some who are not in condition to play at high intensity for 90 minutes.

“I am sorry for Empoli, but this is football and at times a 7-0 happens. I still saw some things about the team that I didn’t like from the touchline and we’ll evaluate it more in depth with my staff later.”

The win was a much-needed lift for Roma, who had taken just one point from their opening three Serie A matches. Tonight’s triumph lifts Mourinho’s men into mid-table ahead of a midweek trip to Moldova to play Sheriff in the Europa League.

“I understand perfectly well what the media is like, the influence of the press on some fans,” Mourinho said. “But for me we were not the team that people talked about a few weeks ago, nor was I so awful a coach as they said last week. Similarly, we are not extraordinary after this match.

“We are a squad with the potential to do well. Our objective is simply to take it one game at a time and win.”

By Sean Gillen