José Mourinho said today that Roma footballers are focused, with joy and the right mentality to face Dutch club Feyenoord and beat them in the final of the Conference Europa League (LCE) on Wednesday.
“We are at the end of a journey. We played a ‘final’ over the weekend [victory over Torino] to secure a place in next season’s Europa League, and we did it. We made history to be in the LCE final and now we have to win it and make history. We managed to keep the enthusiasm at a good level, without exaggeration and keeping the focus on the game. The players are focused, with the right mentality and joy to play these types of games”, said the Portuguese coach at the press conference to launch the final of the competition.
Asked about the recipe for winning the final, Mourinho said that he “does not believe in magic potions or spells” and added that “there is nothing special to do, just the team being equal to itself, knowing its qualities and limitations”.
For the Portuguese coach, this “will always be a positive season” for Roma, regardless of the result of the LCE final, and refutes the idea that Dutch teams are generally not successful in European finals.
“This is not true. Ajax and PSV have already won several European finals and Feyenoord won the European Cup and two editions of the UEFA Cup. [The Netherlands] have an incredible history”, countered Mourinho, who downplayed the role of the two coaches in Wednesday’s final, as their work is done and now it’s between the players.
From a personal point of view, this final takes on a special meaning for Mourinho: “If I win, I’ll be the first to win all the European trophies, but that’s only if I win. It’s a final. I have nothing else in mind until tomorrow [Wednesday]. This final is like the first one for me – nothing has changed.”
The moment served for the Portuguese coach to go back to the past: “The history of the ‘Special One’ is an old one. That was when I was at the beginning [of my career]. When you have more maturity and stability, you think more about people and less about yourself. It’s an old story, I don’t believe in magic – when you get to a final after a season of work, the job is done. It’s the team’s moment, not an individual’s moment.”
After mentioning that this “is a special moment for Albania and for Tirana” and praising the beauty of the stadium, Mourinho revealed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has been injured for several weeks, confided to him that he is ready to play and that he trusts the team. assessment that the Armenian player makes in relation to his physical shape.
Meanwhile, Dutch Feyenoord coach Arne Slot said he was well-documented about his opponent in the Tirana final.
“We saw a lot of Roma games. They almost always have the same style of play. I would be surprised if Roma tried to play more defensively. I hope they bet on the long balls to the back of our defence. But, you never know,” he stated.
Slot admits that José Mourinho might try to surprise him: “We know what to expect, but you never know, sometimes the opposing coach makes a small change to their game plan. But, we saw a lot of games, so we hope to be prepared in the right way. I myself would be surprised if we could still see something we haven’t seen yet”.
José Mourinho can, on Wednesday, in Tirana, lift the fifth European title of his career, now at the helm of Roma, in the final of the first edition of the Europa League Conference of football, against Dutch club Feyenoord.
The 59-year-old Portuguese coach, born in Setúbal, returns to a stage of a great European decision, after winning the Europa League in 2017, at the service of Manchester United.
Before, Mourinho also won two editions of the Champions League, one with FC Porto and another with Inter Milan, and also a UEFA Cup, at the service of the ‘blue and white’.