Mourinho rallies the team ahead of Juve showdown

Andy Mattioli

Jose Mourinho addressed the media earlier today ahead of Sunday night’s big game against Juventus.

The Special One touched upon Abraham’s physical condition, the morale going into tomorrow’s match and more.

On whether Roma will be able to field Tammy Abraham tomorrow:

“We’ll see. Today he has trained very little little, but he will travel with the team. We will see tomorrow. Field, bench, in the stands, we’ll see. He is improving day by day.”

On what motivates him the most in the match-up with Massimiliano Allegri:

“I won and Max has won too, this must be seen in a positive way. It is not a challenge between me and Max, but between Roma and Juve. It’s not me against Max.”

“It’s a pleasure to greet him before the game. There is respect and esteem. We have seen each other in many conferences, there is no great friendship but I like Max as a person and we are on good terms. It will be a pleasure to see him and I am happy that he is back to work. A coach like him can’t stay too long on vacation.”

On the welcome he expects from Juve fans and the infamous referee Orsato with whom he shares a troubled past:

“Let’s start with the referee. Before the game, I’m always happy with the referee, I don’t care about the past. Many times I am not even interested, I trust everyone and I start from the principle that everyone is good.”

“In this case, he is a very experienced man and I am happy. After the games sometimes they make mistakes and I’m not happy, and the criticism comes out but it’s normal. The starting point is always that before the match I am happy with the referee and tomorrow will be no different.”

“I do not have any problem. I expect the same welcome as always or maybe different, I don’t know. Last time at the end of the match I was criticized for my reaction and I saw it as a strange thing. People were left with the emotional reaction of 10 seconds and forgot 90 minutes of the game. But I’ve been in football for many years, it’s not a drama.”

On Shomurodov and Mayoral:

“They are fine, if they have to play they play, there is no drama. We have positions in the squad for when someone is missing and we are struggling, types of difficulties that the big teams do not have because they have balance.”

“In our case if Tammy does not play we have two players in conditions to play and there are no problems.”

On rumors linking him to Newcastle:

“I have nothing to say about Newcastle. For many years I have worked with one of the greatest people in Newcastle history, and from that moment I have had a sentimental connection with those people. But nothing more.”

“I am happy in Rome and 100% with the Friedkin project. No problem.”

“This game I feel like the ones I like to play but without positive or negative feelings. Everyone likes to play the big games. They are always three points but the pleasure of playing against the strongest teams is always a challenge that everyone likes.”

On potentially reducing the gap with Juve:

“We started the season a few weeks ago. Sometimes it is difficult to answer because it seems I have to repeat the same things over and over. One thing is a team that wins 9 out of ten championships another is a team that wins 0 out of 10.”

“Another thing is a newly arrived coach and another is a team that has played with Max for 8 years. There is a difference, however, when the game starts and we are there, 11 against 11 until the last second, all of this must be forgotten. We must have the personality and the courage to get there and play our game to win.”

On what changes he needs to make for Roma play differently vs big teams:

“I do not know. The only thing that can be compared is the pragmatism of the result. If they have a game plan it is difficult to work together because only today we had the full team available. We have a game plan, we know who we play against.”

“Max knows which team he will have in front of him. It is impossible for us to know who we will play against because there are so many options for Juve. Lots of quality and lots of different options. We are growing and a certain identity is important to me. We go there to play and if we don’t win I want it to be because of Juve and not because of our fault.”

“All this difference in history and status on the pitch does not exist. May the best man win on the pitch tomorrow.”

On Gonzalo Villar:

“Maybe someone saw him walk out of Trigoria half an hour earlier, he drew the wrong conclusions. He is called-up.”

“He will not play from the start tomorrow, but he will be on the bench. He is a player who works a lot, who works well, and is making an effort to adapt to my way of thinking about football, he is making an effort to change the way of playing compared to last year which was easier for him, with a five-men defense behind. His work in midfield was completely different, but I’m happy with him and the opportunities to play will come for him, maybe tomorrow.”

“He will be called up but he starts from the bench.”

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