Roma manager Jose Mourinho met with the media this evening on the eve of his team’s Europa League clash against Slavia Praha.
The Giallorossi face-off against the Czech side for the second time in two weeks after they won the first meeting 2-0 in Rome. The victory kept the side perfect through the first three group matches and they have a chance to make it four tomorrow in Prague.
Mourinho was initially asked to react to Jindřich Trpišovský’s assertion that tomorrow’s match will be “the match of a lifetime” for his side.
“For me, the match of a lifetime is always the next game—always,” began Mourinho. “Ever since I started in professional football it’s been this way.”
“As for tomorrow, certainly we expect it to be more challenging than the game in Rome. We scored in the first minute which conditions you to play differently than you envisioned. Then we added a second goal all within twenty minutes and had the match in our control.”
“Slavia is a strong team, they’ve got a lot of quality in their organisation both defensively and when they have the ball. They’ve also got a good manager and a beautiful stadium. We’re very close to qualification but Slavia are also in a good position when compared to Servette and Sheriff.”
The Special One was also asked how he’ll approach tomorrow’s affair given this weekend’s huge league affair against Lazio in the Derby della Capitale.
“All the players who are in a condition that allows them to play two games in three days will be on the pitch,” answered Mourinho.
“For example, the three defenders feel good, all three play. I already know (Mile) Svilar will play because this is part of his evolution. Then I’ll probably make another change or two, but as a basic structure we will play with the team that we think is strongest.”
Mourinho also weighed in on statements made by Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri, who stated the Giallorossi were going to Prague “for a friendly match” ahead of this weekend’s Derby clash.
“Sarri? If anyone should feel offended by his statements it’s the supporters of Slavia Praha, not me,” he said.
“The way in which Sarri spoke was to say that Slavia Praha is team without any quality. I always respect my opponents. I was clear when I said we’re facing a strong team tomorrow.”
Adding, “Perhaps this mindset about our game is what makes the difference between the history of some coaches and players. Maybe this mentality is what makes the difference between a manager that has won 26 titles and another that has barely won any.”