Tomorrow will be Mourinho’s first official game as Roma’s new manager. The Portuguese technician was interviewed by Sky Sport ahead of the match against Trabzonspor in the first edition of Conference League.
When do Roma and the Conference League represent to you?
“I don’t want to make any distinction between competitions. The priority is the next game. We have to forget about the competition and think only about wanting to win every game. It’s not impossible to have this approach for every match.”
“We know it won’t be easy tomorrow, this doesn’t seem like a Conference League playoff game, but a Champions League one.”
Tomorrow will be your first official game as a Roma manager.
“It will be my 996th or 997th official game overall. I’m calm, I don’t think too much about myself. I think of the team and about the positive start to the season this group deserves. We’ve worked a lot, the same way as the management have.”
“To rebuild is never easy just like the market never is. We wouldn’t have needed a left-back had Spinazzola been there, or another striker had Dzeko remained. We had to adapt as we went along.”
“This team deserves a good start: tomorrow and next Thursday at the Olimpico will be two hard fought matches, but we’ll do everything to go through to the group stages.”
There will be 20 thousand fans tomorrow cheering against you and Trabzonspor are ahead in terms of preparations.
“It’s true but I don’t want any excuses, especially in this first game. We’re here, we have some players missing in Smalling and Villar, but we have five young guys available and that really pleases me. We have an excellent approach. I know what it’s like to play in Turkey and I can communicate this to the players.”
“For those that haven’t played in over a year and a half in front of fans it can be quite pleasant.”
Is there a position that you feel may have been left uncovered in terms of the market?
“Certainly, the front office have done an incredible job financially speaking. We didn’t expect to have to buy a left-back or a second striker. I know we’re not perfect in some departments, I would like to have other players to have more balance and more experience. But I’ll keep repeating that I’m very pleased with the job the ownership have done.”
“The word ‘time’ will still exist going forward. If we haven’t done something know, we’ll do it in January or next summer. It’s no use trying to do everything at once when it’s most difficult: today the market is tough for almost every team out there, except for some that are going through different circumstances.”
Are you worried about Smalling? Who will play between Ibanez and Kumbulla?
“The players know I don’t like to say who will get to play in the game. But today I can say Ibanez and Mancini will start. Smalling trained throughout the entire preseason with great confidence. Against Raja Casablanca he slipped before the substitution and felt some pain. We’re working to prevent these kinds of injuries.”
“The team has sustained a lot of injuries in recent years and we’re working to improve this aspect, but there are things strictly related to the pitch and players. Maybe for Smalling it is some kind of deja-vu, but I trust him and I don’t think it’s a problem that will keep him out too long.”
What impressed you the most about this first part of your time at Roma?
“The willingness of everybody to work and get better. I’m not only talking about players, but everybody who works for the club. The players feel it, and I’ll give you an example, which may not mean much to you but means a lot to me: tomorrow, once we’re back in Italy, we’re not going home. We’re sleeping at Trigoria. We’re coming back at 4am and we’ll need to rest. There are sacrifices to be made if we want to follow some kind of professionalism. This will take time, and time is a word that I will never get tired of until we become a team of professionals which comes before the achieved results.”
“The ownership doesn’t want a singular win. It wants to build: time and philosophy. For other people and myself it may seem difficult to understand the concept of time without winning at first. But we want to do things the right way, We want to improve and obtain the results we want.”