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Mourinho rues late collapse

Jose Mourinho bemoaned mental fragility as he saw his Roma team beaten 4-3 by Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening.

The Giallorossi were leading 3-1 midway through the second half thanks to goals from Tammy Abraham, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini - before a flurry of Juventus goals turned the game on its head.

A penalty awarded with 10 minutes remaining gave Pellegrini the chance to make it 4-4; alas his spot-kick was saved as the home side were condemned to a painful defeat.

Here's what Mourinho had to say after the game...

You can’t criticise the effort of your players but, nevertheless, you were 3-1 up in this one … what happened?

“Unfortunately I can criticise them – I don’t want to single out individuals, but I could. We were in absolute control of the game for 70 minutes, with the desire to control the play. Both in the first and second half we showed the right attitude both tactically and in terms of organisation in order to control the game, we did that really well for 70 minutes. But after that we fell apart mentally.

“The goal that made it 3-2 kills me because Felix [Afena-Gyan] had a brilliant game considering his age. He finishes his shift [before being substituted] with a sprint to close down Cuadrado and stop an attack from them – then I change him and the player that replaces him immediately makes a mistake.

"With a squad with a strong personality and attitude, there’s no problem when you concede at 3-2. 3-1 and 3-2 are different scorelines but that difference isn’t a problem for me - it is for the players though. At that moment we saw the fragile mental attitude, the fear and the worries creep in.

“It happened last season and it will surely happen again this season: last year we didn’t win a game against a big team. Against Milan there was something more to it than just the performances of the two sides. But, let me just say, we always have a go at the referees but I think today it is fair that I say that Massa had a good game. I didn’t see the penalty incident [that was given] but I will, I thought he did well overall.

"When things went to s*** my team got themselves up and showed they are good lads. It’s one thing if there is a weak mentality, another if the lads aren’t good characters. In our dressing room there are good lads.

“If the game had finished after 70 minutes it would have gone down as an extraordinary performance. But after that we also saw the limitations we have on the bench: Maitland-Niles has only just got here, another will arrive next week, Zaniolo, El Shaarawy, Mancini and Karsdorp were all out. It hurts my soul, because I’m not used to this sort of a squad, but I am here to help these players develop.”

Did you think that your personality alone was going to be enough to fix Roma?

“No, I never thought that! I thought it might be a bit easier, though. The performance put in for 70 minutes tonight, and in other games as well, is because of the talent we have – but the squad doesn’t always have the ability, even among the players that play regularly, to manage their emotions and the game. I have been given three years here and I want to do every single one of them – I need some help from the club but we will get to the level we need.

“We have agreed to take two players on loan, one of them is Maitland-Niles and another is a central midfielder that I think will arrive next week. He will bring personality, a different profile and is used to taking responsibility. This comfort zone, playing to finish fifth or sixth or seventh in the league, is too easy for some people and we need to force ourselves out of that comfort zone.

“As I said to the boys after the game against Milan – it’s them who need to come towards my mentality, not me who needs to come towards theirs. I don’t want to do that.”

 
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