Mourinho: “The Goal Doesn’t Change, We Want to Go to the Final”

With the second leg of the European Conference League semi-finals underway, Jose Mourinho is ready as Roma set to face Leicester in a challenging fixture at the Stadio Olimpico.

Throughout the first leg at the King Power Stadium, the Giallorossi had a strong start as they caused Brendan Roger’s side a lot of trouble through their fluid fast-paced style of play within the offensive zone.

Consequently, Nicola Zalewski brought down Nicolo Zaniolo’s cross brilliantly and glided along the left flank past his markers with his mesmerizing dribbling skills and pace. The Polish wing-back and diced a well-weighted pass for Lorenzo Pellegrini in between the lines past the back-line. The Italian skipper struck the ball one-time with the laces across the second post to hand Roma the lead within the first 15 minutes.

However, Mourinho’s men were incapable of holding back the Foxes throughout the entirety of the game as Ademola Lookman buried Harvey Barnes’ low-driven cross passed Rui Patricio in the 66th minute and hand Leicester the equalizer, forcing the first leg to end in a stalemate.

Ahead of the significant second leg, Mourinho spoke in a press conference and acknowledged Brendan Roger’s incredible success with the Foxes:

“What Leicester are doing is fantastic, after winning the Premier. League the way the club has grown at every level is fantastic. Congratulations to everyone. Rodgers doesn’t surprise me, people forget what he did at Liverpool with far fewer resources that Liverpool have now.

“People don’t focus on the Scottish league, he’s been fantastic there too. Leicester and Rodgers very very good…I hope tomorrow goes well for us and not for them.”

In addition, the Gaffer discussed the emotional impact of playing in front of a fully occupied Stadio Olimpico:

“We all deserve to finish these two games well at the Olimpico. We’re playing for us, but a lot for the fans: I’d like the fans to play the game with us tomorrow. You can be at the stadium as a spectator and you can be there to play the game.

“If we have 70,000 fans it means nothing, if they want to play it’s different. That’s what we’re asking people: don’t come to watch the game, come to the stadium to play.”

He understood the importance of the Conference League for Leicester City.

“To be honest winning at Leicester means more than winning titles at Chelsea, at Man United. All jokes aside, he certainly wants to win. Especially because it’s the only way to get to a European competition next year. The only way to do that is to win the Conference League.”

Finally, the “Special One” touche upon his desire for the semi-final blockbuster against Leicester:

“It’s the same in every game. I always want to win the next game and the next one is a semi-final even more. Because it gives you the right to play a final. The goal doesn’t change: we want to go to the final, leave everything we have. We are here as a team, there is no Mkhitaryan but there are others. As a team we are going there tomorrow to fight.”

“It’s not just the next match, but a special match. Our run has been in the Conference League, and it’s been really difficult, there are 14 games and we have a chance to go to the final, we have to play at our highest level to deserve the final.”