Serie A, Monday, FEB 26, 18:30 CET
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    Mourinho rues finishing after defeat in Venice

    Everything the boss had to say after Sunday's defeat in Serie A

    Roma coach Jose Mourinho had plenty to say in the wake of Sunday's 3-2 away loss against Venezia.

    The Giallorossi slumped to defeat in Venice despite leading 2-1 at the break, as goals for Eldor Shomurodov and Tammy Abraham were ultimately erased by David Okereke's winner 15 minutes from time.

    Here's what Mourinho thought about the contest...

    Lots of shots today for Roma, more than Venezia. So did the side lack that cutting edge you had asked for before the game?

    “It’s difficult to talk about ‘cutting edge’. A key part of the story of this game was our attacking play: we created lots of chances, and lots of what I call ‘half-openings’ – where you get into a really dangerous area but then aren’t able to make that final pass that will lead to a goal.

    “It was really easy for us to get into dangerous positions: Karsdorp got into those areas 20 times or more and so did El Shaarawy. And then we had plenty of options in central areas; two forwards with good movement, two attacking midfielders in Pellegrini and Veretout who were always in support. So part of the story of this game is our attacking play – it’s hard to explain how, with so many attacks, we were only able to score two goals.

    “The second part of the story of the game, a smaller part, are the second and third goals for them – because the first came from a set-piece. Yesterday we worked on that sort of scenario and we got it wrong today. The third goal came from a poor judgement of a offside trap and then we were not able to find a solution.

    “Then there is another part, a small part but I think a key part of the game: Venezia’s second goal. I need to be careful, so I’ll keep my thoughts to myself, because I don’t want to say what I think is happening.”

    I suppose you are referring to the officials…

    “For the second goal? We can also talk about players that should be getting yellow cards for tactical fouls … but those are little details. Of course, I can also say that we had lots of chances to make it 3-1, with El Shaarawy’s chance being the best of those.

    “But the reality is we were 2-1 up with the game under control … and then that happens. I don’t want to say more than that. I would just like to say that you are talking about a really important moment in the game. That’s it.”

    Have the club or the pundits got it wrong, suggesting this squad is capable of finishing in the top four? Or have you not yet been able to find the best balance for the team?

    “You have your opinion and I have mine.”

    I think this team is probably in line to finish about sixth [speaking was Sky Sport Italia pundit Giancarlo Marocchi].

    “As a coach, the opinion I always have is that you need to impart a bit of ambition and motivation to the squad you have – not just for the players, but for myself too. So saying that top four is a target to fight for does not necessarily mean the squad is a top-four squad.

    “I never said that we are worthy of the top-four, but I will continue to say – up until the point that it is mathematically impossible – that the top four is the target we are fighting for.

    “But for a few reasons we have finished sixth and seventh in the last few seasons, while the business we did this summer, in my opinion and in the opinion of us internally, was business done reacting to events, with the aim of strengthening the squad where we had to. I don’t think this squad is better than last season: we lost experienced players and useful squad players.

    “For example, today the two full-backs on the bench were Filippo Tripi and Bryan Reynolds. The first has come from the Primavera, while the other has played, what, two or three games in Serie A? Today Bruno Peres or Juan Jesus would have been useful.

    “The transfer window was a reactive one and I was absolutely a part of that, along with the club and the general manager [Tiago Pinto]. Because we had to react.

    “The goalkeeper was a planned move: I made that request. For the left-back, because we lost Spinazzola [to injury], we had to react and that was the same for Tammy Abraham after Edin Dzeko went. The other players are from last season.

    “I don’t think this season is the one for us to be aiming at targets in the league. For me, as a coach with three years to work on things here, this could be a season of growing pains – but also a really, really important season to understand some of the things I had no way of knowing before I got here. I already understand more than I did two or three months ago.

    “In terms of bringing a new balance to Roma, squads need to build a model and a style of play – and when you have a group where there are not two similar players in each position then even as a coach you have to be very reactive. Today, for example, beyond the fact we did really well in the attacking phase – certainly well enough to win – we had difficulty adding anything from the bench: Karsdorp was injured and had a yellow card.

    “Look at Inter: if Darmian gets a yellow card, or finds himself in difficulty, then Dumfries can come on. If Kjaer gets a booking or an injury for AC Milan then Romagnoli can come on. I can make a thousand similar examples.

    “We still need to build our squad. But, nevertheless, until it is mathematically impossible our aim will be to fight for those top four positions. The target is not the same as your potential.

    “As for the individual episodes in these games … maybe one day I’ll fully understand. Because there are always things that, with time, get uncovered – so maybe one day I’ll understand.”