Serie A, Monday, FEB 26, 18:30 CET
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    Mourinho: "Unhappy with the result but happy with my players"

    Read what Jose Mourinho had to say after Roma were beaten 3-1 by Atalanta in Bergamo.

    Your team didn't seem to be at their best today after their European exertions. Leaving aside the reaction to going 2-0 down, did you get the same impression?

    “No, I disagree. With all our limitations I think we played an excellent game. You can't discount individual moments from the analysis because they're all part of the match and they can determine the result but it really did come down to fine margins. We were in control in the first half; we didn't create a lot but we were in complete control.

    “Their first goal came about because there's a player who loses the ball on the left and the ball goes to the right side, where Tammy should have won a foul. Then there's a cross into the box and instead of positioning ourselves according to our opponents we were caught ball-watching and [Mario] Pasalic scored. But I don't think there was anything between us and Atalanta in the first half, even though we'd made a few changes and some of the lads were tired.

    “In the second half, after we'd pulled it back to 2-1 I thought we could push on and go for it, despite there only being eight minutes plus stoppage time remaining. Then there was another moment that decided the game. But I'm pleased with my players. If I have to play next Saturday, I will. This team is united. We always stick together when the going gets tough. I think our fans – including Francesco [Totti, listening on DAZN], who's one of our biggest fans – are proud of this side because we always play as a team. We ended the game with nine players and with nine men we hit the post, which could have been our second goal. We kept battling right to the end.

    “Honestly it's very, very hard for me to criticise this team because they always go out there and do everything they can, with all our limitations. I'm not saying today's result is unfair, because those individual moments are part of the game and when you make a mistake, you pay for it, but I'm very happy indeed with the attitude shown by my players – both those who played who don't often play and those who started on the bench and came on to lend a hand.”

    Are you paying a high price for all these injuries or is there an element of luck involved, considering you hit the woodwork for the 30th time today?

    “If we're hitting the woodwork, it means we're creating chances. You can't hit the woodwork 30 times if you don't create that number of chances, if you're not a team capable of creating openings. That's a positive. Then you can call it bad luck, inefficiency, or whatever you like. Injuries are par for the course when you accumulate matches. What we tried to do today was protect those players who, using scientific data, were showing most fatigue after our match on Thursday. We tried to protect Paulo [Dybala] from injury and others, mainly Leo [Spinazzola] and Nemanja [Matic], from fatigue. Those who played, like [Ola] Solbakken, did really, really well. And when we were fully in the game, we conceded the third goal. But we conceded it as a team: them, us, me.”

    Saturday is the start of a huge week with three matches that will go a long way to determining your Serie A season. Are you worried? Because you don't have a lot of reserves.

    “I think it's a problem for every coach, even those in charge of the biggest clubs with lots of options, when they're missing players. For some teams it's a little problem and for others it's a huge problem. For us it's a huge problem. Because [Chris] Smalling is Smalling and Diego [Llorente], who was doing really, really well, is now sidelined too. It's going to be incredibly hard for us. Maybe losing to Feyenoord would have put us in a better position to fight till the end in Serie A. I'm unhappy with the result today but happy with my players.”

    [Totti speaking] After what you said, I feel even more confident that with you in charge, Mr Mourinho, we can do great things both in Serie A and in the Europa League. I'm proud of what you said and I'm proud of the team. We fans are always behind you, ready to drive you on. Because you deserve it.

    “You're a Roma Capitano and you should call me Jose, not Mr, or coach. I thank you for your kind words. We can't perform miracles of course but one 'miracle' is the bond between this team and all of you fans. Away from home, at the Olimpico, everywhere. People have understood the values of this team, regardless of whether we play better or worse, we win or draw, we have injuries or not... We always fight together till the very end.

    "You could have given us a hand next Saturday, although actually we'd need Aldair a bit more than we need you...”