José Mourinho Roma side defeated Xavi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen by 1-0 in the first leg of the semi-final of the Europa League.
Bove’s lone goal separated the two sides at full time at the Stadio Olympico Stadium, Rome.
José Mourinho who spoke to the media after the game said:
“It’s down to the lads. They have this mentality, this desire and this empathy – something I often say. They have a sense of responsibility that makes them want to give absolutely everything to make the fans happy. We’ve had some great moments but our journey from Trigoria to the stadium today… with all those people on the streets showing us the emotions they were showing. That’s something that gets inside of you – even for someone like myself with a lot of mileage on the clock. The lads know how to respond to it.
“Of course, it wasn’t an easy game. It was difficult intellectually because Leverkusen are a very tough side to play against, and it’s hard to stay fully focused for 90 minutes. It’s hard when you’re playing to win. You know that if you lose the ball they can kill you and emotionally, that’s very hard for the lads. But they managed to win the first half of this tie.”
Question from the men of the press directed at Mourinho
You call them ‘lads’ and there’s one lad of 21, a Roman lad, who won the match tonight. How much have you contributed to Edoardo Bove’s development?
“I think it’s more down to Edo’s parents and his family. He’s an incredibly polite lad. Intellectually – academically speaking – he’s very smart. And in terms of his professionalism, he looks like a 30-year-old veteran. He’s remained humble and improved little by little. Last season he’d come on for five minutes at the end, this season for 20, 30 minutes and to start the odd game. He’s improved his emotional control during games, too. What I’ve done is my job – which is to help players improve. But I can tell you, even without knowing them, that if a lad turns out like that, he’s bound to have an amazing family behind him.”
I’d also like to ask you about Paulo Dybala and Gini Wijnaldum because you’re having to deal with some difficult fitness situations…
“It’s tough, for me and for everyone. You fear they might get injured, but at the same time you need them as options. It’s really tough. But fortunately, they were able to play part of the game. I haven’t spoken to them yet, but as long as there’s nothing serious, we’ll see if they’re able to give us a few minutes next Thursday.”
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