Mourinho: “We can win tomorrow because football is football.”

Jose Mourinho addressed the media ahead of tomorrow’s crucial match against Atalanta.

The Special One gave good news regarding Smalling’s recovery:

“Smalling has recovered and can play.”

On Atalanta:

“There is a substantial difference: 6 months for me and 6 years for Giampiero at Bergamo. We look pragmatically at this number, but 6 months and 6 years is not just a number of training sessions. That’s 12 market windows against one. A fantastic club, very stable, with a united approach to work.”

“This was a mid-table team and 10 years later is a Champions League team and plays for the Scudetto.”

“We are a team with new owners who are doing a fantastic job, a coach that’s been here 6 months, a reactive transfer market and there is a significant difference with consequences for the team.”

“But there is one thing: we can win tomorrow because football is football.”

“We have good players, we have a fantastic team spirit, like others. It is obvious that looking to their bench there is a lot of quality, while here we have many young players with reduced number of minutes in high-level Serie A.”

“We will go there to win. We’re not going to say: oh you have a squad of 25 expert players, we have a squad of 14-15. If you ask me to sign for the draw I say no, I want to go, win and try to measure myself up to them. I admire the work that has been done in Bergamo with Atalanta, we go there to win.”

On Zaniolo:

“For me he is playing well. The injury vs CSKA Sofia is the consequence of a game where we didn’t want to risk anything. The numbers seem strange, he didn’t score a goal in Serie A, but I’m happy. The goals will come, they are useful to winning, but you have to leave him alone, let him do his things.”

“His growth must be natural. I am happy, I am not worried. He can only get better. Maybe tomorrow could be his game. He starts.”

On Atalanta being a model for other teams to follow:

“There are several models. I like them. You know that I have done many years in some clubs with different models. Very focused on today, super aggressive. I would say very expensive as well. I have admiration for this type of project.”

“The project is there, it’s been 6 years, an intelligent market. A team that becomes strong with economic stability. Not just respect, but admiration for them. Where were they 10 years ago? If we look confidently at our owners, at the coach, I am sure it is the right direction.”

On tomorrow’s 3 points:

“I don’t want to win for the sake of having hope of reaching Champions League football. If we lose I don’t want to think about this. The numbers say a lot. One thing is 11-12 point difference. But this game is not about whether we can or cannot reach Champions League. Let’s see if we can win tomorrow. Just win. That’s all.”

“I look at the Spezia game. Why did we have problems in the second half? We lost the ball too easily. If, on the other hand, we put players of a higher level, perhaps we don’t win that game.”

“This is why I say very simply, it doesn’t matter who plays for them. I have to focus on us: we can’t lose the ball easily, we have to manage the moments of the game. Yesterday we worked a little on this in the short time we have between games, we need to have more confidence in ball possession.”

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Serie A 2022-23
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