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Mourinho: We want to rectify what happened in the first meeting

Coach Jose Mourinho faced the media on Wednesday afternoon to preview Roma's impending Europa Conference League meeting with Bodo/Glimt.

The game at the Stadio Olimpico gets underway at 21:00 CET on Thursday.

Here's everything the boss had to say ahead of the game...

Tomorrow you need to win both to go back to the top of the group and to erase the memory of the first leg. How important is this game?

“We have six points so far in the group. There are nine points still to play for. We are in a good place. If we forget about the result in Bodo – even if it is impossible to forget a result like that – then six points on the board with two home games still to go is a good spot to be in.

“So it’s not a vital game and it’s not a game with lots of pressure on it. But we want to finish first, we want to win the game. We don’t want to forget about the game in Bodo because I don’t think we ever could forget a game like that – but we want to win tomorrow.”

What sort of line-up will we see tomorrow?

“We got everything wrong in Bodo. I don’t want to say that ‘just this’ or ‘just that’ was at fault. We lost as a team. And tomorrow we want to win as a team.

“Obviously it won’t be the same line-up as last time. Clearly. I was a bit too scared before the first meeting, but I won’t be this time. I was concerned about the cold, the pitch, the injuries, the tiredness … I was worried about everything, except worried about losing. I made mistakes, we all made mistakes. But the same team won’t play tomorrow.”

Tammy Abraham was the club's most expensive signing this summer, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations recently. What’s the issue? Is it to do with the team or the individual?

“The problem is always with us. It’s not about indviduals. He’s a player that has come here from a different culture: different footballing culture, different refereeing culture, different social culture … I don’t think that is ever easy.

“But he started pretty well. He made a very positive impact. Right now he’s going through a quieter spell. But he is a great player and we have confidence in him. There’s no issue. He will be back to his best, he will score, we have complete confidence in him.”

Compared to other places you have coached in your career, have you noticed a difference in how your side is treated by referees?

“I won’t talk about referees and I won’t talk about Serie A [in this press conference].”

Against both Cagliari and AC Milan you switched between formations during the game. Could this become a trend?

“I won’t talk about referees and I won’t talk about Serie A [in this press conference].”

Nicolo Zaniolo is now a key player for this Roma side again, after another year out. How do you think he is doing, and where can he improve?

“It’s not easy, after two years out through injuries. For example, against Juventus there was the sense that this was a player that had suffered a lot, and so there was still a bit of fear there. Those are the sort of fears that a player can only get rid of with time.

“Physically he’s doing well, he’s strong. There are things he can work on tactically, stuff that he needs to learn, but I think that’s normal. When you are 23 or 24 [Zaniolo is 22], especially when you’ve lost almost two years to the recovery room, there are things you need to learn. Clearly. But he’s a good player, and a professional one who trains hard every day. So I am pleased.”

Do you think Italian football has a better reputation now around the world? Or has it gone backwards in the last 10 years?

“The quality of football is very good. Teams have quality, the players are good, the coaches are good. The coaches from different generations are all trying to play attacking, good football and aren’t solely focused on results. So in that regard I am really pleased to be here with you.”

Do you still have the trust in Eldor Shomurodov that you did at the start of the season, especially considering that against AC Milan you preferred to bring on Felix Afena-Gyan over him?

“I trust in all of them, but there are always periods where players are not in the very best of form. Especially in terms of confidence. With Felix, tomorrow he is a player who is not registered for the Conference League. But he is a player with qualities that we don’t really have in the squad. He’s a player who looks for opportunities that we don’t often try to exploit.

“We have a lot of players who want the ball at the feet; we don’t have many who look for the spaces to run into. I like him because of how he tries to run into space and how he works out on the pitch. How he presses. He’s aggressive in the spaces.

“He is a long, long way from being the finished product - a long way from being a complete player and a long way from being the perfect player to start for a team like Roma. But he is a player that deserves to be worked with and deserves a chance to play.

“It’s good for him that he is training with us, just as it is good for other players like Missori and Volpato, but it is one thing to train and another to play – playing accelerates the development process.

“I have confidence in Mayoral and Shomurodov and that hasn’t changed.”

 
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