Lorenzo Pellegrini discusses Mourinho, Champions League aspirations & more

Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini gave a lengthy interview to Sportweek where, among other things, he discussed his relationship with Mourinho, his personal and club ambitions, the ‘weight’ of the captain’s arm-band and more.

“If Roma win the scudetto someday, I’m willing to do the Camino de Santiago de Compostela all over again. And perhaps walk even further than that,” said the 25-year-old midfielder.

“As a group we also need to make it to the World Cup. It’s a priority for us, although unfortunately we complicated things ourselves.”

“We keep in touch about it on WhatsApp,” says Pellegrini when asked about the national team. “We thought we had complete control of the situation and instead…”

When asked what would happen if Italy were to fail once again to reach the World Cup, Pellegrini said, “As far as I’m concerned, the playoffs are a stimulus: the games in March can be an opportunity to take back what I’ve lost, even if I feel part of the group that won the Euro.”

“All the difficulties that are bound to be overcome during the qualification stage are part of the journey.”

On the captain’s arm-band, he said “It is a responsibility, on and off the pitch. My duties are also making sure the new players understand that this is not just any shirt and Roma is not a place of transition. It’s more than that.”

On Totti and De Rossi: “I shared the locker room with Daniele and I had an incredible relationship with Francesco despite him having already retired. They have been great role models for me. Especially in their approach with those who came from the Primavera.”

“They were two legends and due to the relationship I had with them I would personally like to see them every day at Trigoria. But I also think that the choices they have made have to be respected.”

“They have embarked on different paths, and they are trying to make their futures separate by not taking everything for granted, even if they are called Totti and De Rossi.”

On what needs to change within Roma, Pellegrini answered, “That famous sentence about how winning one scudetto with Roma is worth ten scudetto’s elsewhere is part of the mentality that needs to be changed.”

“If you win it and claim it’s worth ten, it means you think it was a coincidence to win one. Juve won a lot for their mentality, we got closer over the years but we always lacked something. We need to sprint forward.”

When asked about Mourinho’s mentality, Pellegrini replied “I identify with a lot of what he says.”

“His career speaks for him. He came to Roma to convey his mentality to us, but now the facts matter. We have to work better every day. He is the type of coach that gets angry when you fail to pass the ball, or for failed sprint. I never saw him angry about a technical error.”

On the tension between Roma and referees, “We need to take a step back, because no one is conspiring against us. I admit, I have also let myself go too far in certain situations.”

“Of course, I hope that episodes like the one with Milan will not be repeated, because we expect everything with the VAR to be perfect, but we need to start having a better attitude toward the match officials.”

When asked whether he always believed he would return to Roma from Sassuolo, Pellegrini replied, “It was my goal, a challenge that I had posed myself.”

“The club had a buy-back clause my agents had come up with. It was a contradiction: you sold me for a million and buy me back for ten? Rick Massara (former sporting director and Walter Sabatini’s assistant) did a great job and spoke to me about it.”

“We had an excellent relationship with Ricky, I believe that for a sporting director it is important to establish a relationship with the dressing room. Which is also what Pinto has done in recent months.”

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