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Mourinho: Ignore the first five minutes and it was strong performance

It was an emotional return to San Siro for Jose Mourinho on Tuesday night but it did not ultimately prove to be a happy one - as Roma lost 2-0 against Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals.

Edin Dzeko and Alexis Sanchez scored the goals as the Nerazzurri moved on to the semi-finals of the competition, on what was Mourinho's first return to San Siro for an Inter match since he won the treble with the club in 2010.

The Portuguese was afforded a hero's welcome, but after the game was left to rue his side's inability to turn  a solid performance into a victory.

He's what he told TV reporters after the game...


Which element of tonight’s game prevailed for you; the emotional side of things or the football on the pitch?

“They are two completely different aspects that can co-exist together. The way I was welcomed here, the way Mr Zhang {the Inter president], Mr Marotta [the former Inter president] and Javier [Zanetti] welcomed me and the beautiful gift they gave me before the game … that’s the emotional side of it, which I can only thank them for and I could never hide away from. The relationship I have with Inter and its people is eternal, that cannot be denied.

“But I came here tonight to win, I’m here for my Roma and my people now are the Roma fans. We were not able to win the game. We shouldn’t forget the first five minutes but, if I could somehow block those five minutes from my mind, I would say that Roma played really well against a side that it is not easy to play well against.

“In the first half we had two great chances to score, the first one I thought was in [when Danilo D’Ambrosio’s deflection looped over the bar] and then for the second Nico [Zaniolo] had a great opening. In the second half, with every minute that went by the game was more and more in our favour: we had control, we pressed well, we covered things well in midfield and then started to attack with quality in the final third. We didn’t create many clear chances, but that’s because obviously Inter have great defenders who are very good one-against-one. Nevertheless, it was a good performance.

“The second goal clearly changed the game, and I think it changed for the referee too. Tactically he was very good: he refereed the game one way until it got to 2-0 and then he started to referee it another way. Referees can be good with the tactics too and I think he was very clever tonight.”

Even if he gave you a booking during the game…

“Yes. That looks good on the CV. A yellow card shown to Mourinho is a big thing on a referee’s CV.”

Before the game, Tiago Pinto said that Nicolo Zaniolo should be protected and that he doesn’t warrant some of the treatment he’s been getting…

“I won’t talk about it any more, because things don’t change. It’s been like this since the start of the season. That’s why I said the referee was very clever: I’m thinking about all the yellow cards there were and the ones that weren’t given. For us it is very easy to pick them up it seems. But after it was 2-0 the game changed and he whistled for things in a different way. Only a really good referee can do that and he is a really good referee.”

Can you tell us what the gift was that Inter gave you?

“A beautiful model of the stadium – I think it’s made of silver and crystal – with the inscription ‘San Siro is your home’. And, yes, it will always be home to me. But I don’t want people to forget that Roma is my home. I love my Roma and I am very sad tonight because we lost.”

 
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