José Mourinho applauded his boys after their resilient effort to reach the final of the UEFA Europa League following their 0-0 barren draw at full-time away to Germany. Roma under Mourinho reached the second European final in his two years in charge and will face Sevilla in the final.
José Mourinho words in his post match question and answer interview:
“First of all, we want to send a message of strength to Emilia-Romagna. During difficult moments, people can bring the best out of themselves. It’s certainly a moment of joyous celebration in Rome, but we can’t forget about the sadness and difficult situation for the people in Emilia-Romagna. We also can’t forget that this is such a happy moment for us as a club.
“Getting back to my team, this is what we’re about. We pay attention to detail. I can tell you that if we hadn’t had [Chris] Smalling on the bench, maybe we wouldn’t have managed to get through. When you lose [Leonardo] Spinazzola and start moving the players around and then lose [Zeki] Celik, without Smalling at that point, it would’ve been really tough. That explains the importance of all the small details, such as the way in which Smalling had been working and those working with him doing everything to get him back. I used Smalling as an example, but I could’ve spoken about [Edoardo] Bove, who used to play on a plastic pitch and now also plays at right wing-back, which has never previously been his position. These lads are giving their all and they’re also incredibly intelligent.
“I think our performance is the result of our hard work, experience, tactical astuteness and the fact that we know how to stay in games, take the match in the direction of our strengths and try to hide our problems. I have an absolutely incredible team. If I can ask something more of the Roma fans, and I don’t know what or if I can, these lads deserve something special on Monday (NB the day of Roma at home to Salernitana) when we leave Trigoria for the Stadio Olimpico. They deserve it.”
Two finals in two years: do you realise you’re now part of Roma history?
“Maybe yes, I don’t know. I’m not worried about being part of Roma history, but simply helping the lads achieve big things and improve, as well as helping the Roma fans, who’ve given me so much going back to day one. We’re always giving our all to try to make the supporters happy. Reaching the final is certainly a source of so much joy.”
You didn’t embark on a glorious celebratory run tonight. Is that down to experience or are you lacking the agility?
“No, it’s not an agility problem. Experience doesn’t come into it because you still feel the pressure during these moments in the same way. You feel the same joy too. It doesn’t change anything. To tell you the truth, it’s very hard for me to come up against my friends (Xabi Alonso) because while you may forget during the game, it’s tough afterwards. I don’t like celebrating in front of my guys and the person doing an extraordinary job out there, Xabi, is one of mine. That’s why I struggle.”
Roma will face Sevilla in the final. What do you make of them?
“Having three Italian sides in European finals is fantastic for Italian football. In our case, Juve and Sevilla are both fantastic teams. I’ve just been focused on getting to the final, rather than the name of the opposition. Sevilla are a really strong side with huge experience in these finals. It’ll certainly be extremely tough, but we’re there and we’ll think about that later on. Next up we face Salernitana and Fiorentina.”
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