José Mourinho warned his side they can’t afford to look past tomorrow’s Conference League clash against Vitesse to Sunday’s Derby showdown.
The Giallorossi enter tomorrow’s tie against the Dutch side with 1-0 lead on aggregate. However, the majority of the attention seems to be fixated on this weekend’s latest installment of the Derby della Capitale.
“The only game that interests me is tomorrow. For me, there is no Lazio, only tomorrow,” Mourinho said during this afternoon’s pre match press conference.
“If we win or draw we advance to the quarterfinals. If we don’t manage that then we’re out of the competition. We feel prepared for tomorrow.”
After a positive two-week run of results in both Serie A and Conference League, Mourinho’s men were disappointing in Sunday’s 1-1 draw in Friuli against Udinese.
He explained, “I don’t know if Mkhitaryan’s absence was the only reason for our problems against Udinese. All of the players are different but Mkhitaryan is important for us, but I can’t say his absence is the reason why we didn’t win.”
The Portuguese technician also weighed in on UEFA’s new rule that eliminated the away goals tiebreaks in European competitions.
“I don’t know if it’s fairer or not, but it changes the profile of a match a bit,” he said.
“For example, Ajax earned a decent draw in Lisbon but Benfica went to Amsterdam and didn’t need to score in order to go through to the quarterfinals.”
“They were able to have an attitude of control without having to take risks. I had our team playing in the first match against Vitesse and we’ll do the same tomorrow without thinking too much about the result.”
He added, “We went there with one goal: to win. We didn’t think about drawing with goals or losing but scoring a goal. We took each match as an individual one which we wanted to win.”
“We want to win tomorrow, we won’t play for a draw. When you think like this, you’re not preoccupied by the goal situation.”