Roma line up 1-3-4-2-1 which Mourinho combines with his favoured low block and a very structured approach to playing away from the offensive third.
José Mourinho, after all, does not use the low block to absorb pressure or the ‘parking the bus’ often attributed to him, but primarily to maintain a rigid structure and close spacing between players which is much harder to achieve higher up. At times he even orders his wing-backs to mark wingers tightly positioning six players deeper in the centre with two pivots filling the gaps and securing selected areas.
In attack Mourinho is not willing to take risks either by deep building or when moving into the offensive third. The wing-backs (Spinazzola, Karsdorp, Zalewski, Celik) are usually positioned deep and passively in the first transition phase. No exceptions to this can be seen. The one-dimensionality of this approach works well against stronger rivals, but can sometimes be a problem when the opponent does not press too high.
This contrasts with the fact that Roma have such a mobile and creative offensive trio (Pellegrini, Dybala, Abraham) which Mourinho combines with structured and tactically disciplined rest of the team.
Roma tries to generate his chances by exploiting width and overloading the center, which sometimes leaves their wing-backs very high in the last phase of attack imposing additional responsibilities on the central midfielders (Matic, Cristante). When Roma find it difficult to generate attack through the center, they move wide without avoiding simple resources such crosses or long balls off the line which is particularly evident when Pellegrini and Dybala are not on the pitch.