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Mourinho reacts to derby disappointment

Jose Mourinho had plenty to say in the wake of Roma's derby defeat against Lazio on Sunday evening.

The Giallorossi fell to a 3-2 defeat at the Stadio Olimpico, in a controversial game that saw plenty of refereeing decisions come under scrutiny.

Here's what the boss had to say about the contest...

You spoke to your team after the game out there on the pitch: what did you tell your players?

“That will stay between us. I wanted to talk to them right then and there, but I consider it to be as if I had spoken to them within the sacred confines of the changing room.”

How much harder did the first 20 minutes make things for you – and especially the incidents surrounding the goal that made it 2-0?

“First of all, I have to say something positive: Italian football has improved a lot, both in terms of the quality of the attacking football and in the desire from teams to try and win games. It was a fantastic match, but unfortunately the referee and VAR weren’t up to the standards of the game.

“You raise the incident for the second goal, where it could have been 1-1 instead of 2-0: the referee got it wrong on the pitch and VAR, I’m not sure whether that is at Coverciano, was wrong too. Both of them got it wrong. That’s too much.

“Even a second yellow card for Lucas Leiva could have had a big impact, because playing 11 against 10 can make a big difference. And, of course, there’s another thing – two very similar situations this week which have seen Lorenzo Pellegrini get a red card and today, nothing.

“I back my players, though, because I think that Roma were the better team on the pitch. Obviously whenever you concede three goals you have made mistakes, but for both the second and third goals they were scored on the counter-attack. And, with the second, the team was expecting to get a penalty and not to have to defend the counter.

“But we played well, we tried, we dominated in parts. We left everything we had out there on the pitch. We made things really difficult for Lazio. They saw out the final few minutes in the way they wanted to do, and they were lucky because the referee allowed them to do that too. But I don’t have much else to say.”

Are you worried about the defensive errors?

“No. I would be more so if we hadn’t played well, if we hadn’t really tried to go and win the match. Or if Lazio had dominated the game from the first minute until the last. But their second and third goals both arrived on the counter-attack. When a team is losing, they have to take risks, and that’s what we had to do.”

For the first goal, did you pay the price for trying to do a bit more than was necessary in the situation?

“Serie A really has changed, because now after a game you want to talk about football and not about referees. Well don – you guys have changed as well. Yes, we know that Milinkovic-Savic would try and make breaks like that. We covered across too far to one side and we left space for the midfielder to run into, and Milinkovic has the quality to do that.

“So clearly we made a mistake, but equally clearly we responded in a way that I liked – as if it hadn’t happen, as if we’d forgotten our mistake, as if we wanted to adjust and overcome and then we had great chances to make it 1-1.”

Today you were missing Lorenzo Pellegrini, your captain, but Zaniolo played a great game and really helped the team: do you need those two players to keep improving in order for this team to make that next leap in quality?

“I don’t want to speak about Pellegrini, because if I do we have to go over what happened in the last game all over again. Nico played well. Maybe he made a few mistakes with his final product. There were a few great situations where he had physically overpowered the opposition, he’d made great forward progress and then with two or three options around him he didn’t quite find the right one. But he had a really good game.

“It’s a shame he suffered a bit of fatigue that affected him and stopped him finishing the game. But yes, both he and Micki did well … but it’s not easy for me to talk about individuals. I coach a team, and I’m happy with all of them.”

Roma come out of this game having shown courage, pride and quality. Taking that knowledge, along with the anger at losing, is something you will try to take into upcoming games?

“I am always serene. During the half-time break I told the players that in transition they could really hurt their opponents, but in doing that obviously we would be taking some risks ourselves on the other end.

“So, yes, we showed quality, we showed heart, we showed team spirit. Maybe you don’t agree with me, but we deserved a different result from this game. And the referee had a massive impact on this game.”

 
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