Mourinho cautious ahead of final match of Conference League group

Roma manager Jose Mourinho
Andy Mattioli

Jose Mourinho spoke to Sky Sport ahead of tomorrow’s Conference League fixture vs CSKA Sofia. The Special One shared his thoughts on playing the final match of the group stage.

“Today I talked to the players and gave an example: I was at Manchester United in the Champions League, Juve were qualified for the round of 16 along with us and for us to finish first Juve couldn’t win with Young Boys and we had to win with Valencia. We didn’t believe it: we lost and Juve lost. I felt like an idiot.”

“Tomorrow we have to go there and win, then if Bodø / Glimt win we are second, we go to the playoffs in February. But we have to be serious.”

“We know the difficulties we have with so many injuries and we know that every player we lose right now is a disaster. There will be a meter of snow, it will be difficult.”

“We have to make someone rest: Rui Patricio, Mkhitaryan, Smalling do not travel with us. We’re going with the best possible group to try and win this match.”

On fan attendance:

“What we want to give to the fans is different from the results we have given them so far. But one thing is obvious: the fans are real Roma fans, they don’t care to win or not.”

“It’s easier to cheer on a team that always wins, it’s harder to prove it’s your favorite team when the results aren’t the best. From the beginning we knew what to expect, obviously we didn’t expect so many problems all at the same time.”

“Beyond a squad that is a work in progress, we expected difficulties but COVID, injuries and suspensions all together is too much and it is especially so when you face Inter. The Nerazzurri are stronger than us and in that situation they were much stronger than us.”

“This is why we are always united and calm, we want to win this game but we must also be a little cautious of all these negative things that happen.”

“Some will stay home like Rui Patricio who always plays, Smalling who comes from a major injury and has played three games in a row and Mkhitaryan who is not very young and has played in a role that demands a lot from him.”

On whether he wants to prioritize the Conference League or 4th place:

“If we take things separately and say now the Conference begins and for the next three months we play, I say that we have the team to compete even with the strongest teams like Tottenham and Rennes, but also with the teams that come from Europa League that are obviously stronger.”

“The problem is that we have to play three competitions between January and the end of May and it is difficult to say how we will arrive at a particular game. It’s the difference between team and the roster.”

“Looking at Inter, Milan, Juventus, Atalanta and Napoli, those are teams of great power and looking at the Conference there are no longer small teams from small countries. All of them have potential. There will be important teams that also arrive from the Europa League: for example, tomorrow one between Naples and Leicester, and I hope for the good of Italian football that the English club will end up in the Conference League.”

“With the available roster, we have to think from game to game and make the next game always the most important.”

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