After guiding Roma to the Europa League final with a 1-0 overall victory over Bayer Leverkusen, Jose Mourinho has reiterated that he is not fixated on the prospect of becoming a legend at the Stadio Olimpico. After losing the inaugural Conference League to Feyenoord at the end of the 2021–22 season, the ‘Special One’ has now led the Giallorossi to back-to-back European finals.
“My concern isn’t marking my place in the Roma history books,” he told Sky Sport after the final whistle. “It’s helping these kids to grow, to achieve important things,” he explained. “It’s also helping the Roma fans, who have given me so much since day one. It’s an immense joy to get to another final.
‘If we don’t have Smalling on the bench, we lose’ – Jose Mourinho
In addition, Mourinho acknowledged a number of his players for their achievements and pointed to his team’s “tactical superiority” as a major contributing element to their recent success in Europe. In Mourinho’s words, “In the small details,” the victory was achieved.
“If we don’t have Smalling on the bench, maybe we don’t win this game.” he continued. “We lost Spinazzola and then Celik; if we didn’t have him at that moment, it would have been very difficult. The small details make the difference. We can also thank Bove, who played from out of position on the right-hand side. The boys give everything; this game is the result of our work, experience, tactical wisdom, and knowing how to stay in matches. It’s an incredible team.”
Mourinho also expressed his gratitude to the Roma supporters for their outstanding support during their Europa League campaign, but before returning to Serie A play in a few days, he begged for one more request.
He said: “If I can ask the Roma fans for more, these guys deserve something special on Monday, starting from training at Trigoria going into the match. Three finalists is a good thing for Italian football. Sevilla and Juventus are two very strong teams, but my concern wasn’t to draw one of the two but getting there first. It will be very difficult for us.”