José Mourinho previews Juventus showdown

Andy Mattioli

Roma manager José Mourinho addressed the media on Friday afternoon to preview the highly anticipated Serie A engagement in Turin with Massimiliano Allegri scheduled for Saturday evening.

“This is going to be a great game against a great team,” Mourinho told reporters. “They want to win the title. Playing against great teams is always a challenge and a motivation.”

“Tomorrow it will be the same team as before with the exception of Matic who will start and Zaniolo not being there.”

When asked about Roma’s Europa League draw, Mourinho replied, “The Europa League is certainly a difficult competition, with teams that have to win, otherwise it would be a disaster for them, with their economic and sporting potential. We’ll take it one step at a time.”

“Obviously we are talking about a group that in my opinion is far from easy. Betis have recently won a trophy. They have a top manager and a team that plays very well. I think I played against Ludogorets two years ago, it’s not an easy team, they almost always win their league title. I don’t know Helsinki, but the evolution of the Northern European teams is very visible.”

“It’ll be my first time playing in Finland, that’s incredible. I can’t wait. I’ll face them with curiosity and respect. I just hope we don’t have to play there too late in the calendar because that would make the trip that much more difficult.”

On Paulo Dybala’s return to Turin since he first joined Roma, Mourinho commented, “I expect a normal game from him. Maybe he’ll be a bit emotional before or after, but I expect his usual performance.”

“I see Dybala doing well, he makes himself available to the team. I’m happy with him and I didn’t expect anything more at the moment.”

Mourinho dismissed the remarks regarding Roma’s poor record playing Juventus away, “Every game is an isolated event. The past and the future have no connection. From a psychological point of view we can prepare the team in the best possible way, and we always do it.”

“Nothing in particular changes for this match. It is business as usual. We don’t change the time we go to sleep because we play against Juve. We have grown, we are prepared, we have trained quite well. We know what we want to do, the players know who they’re playing. They’ve known it for the last two days. There is no great story, let’s go there and try to win.”

“We will not go there to try and draw the game. We will go there to win. If we lose, then that’s it. We’ll lose.”

Finally, Mourinho also mentioned Felix’s imminent transfer to Cremonese, “Felix will not be called up, there is a very high possibility that Felix is going to leave the club, and we don’t want to risk him.”