Here’s what Lorenzo Pellegrini and Gianluca Mancini had to say in their press conference ahead of Roma’s Europa League final against Sevilla.
While aware of the challenge they face, Pellegrini shared his pride at what the team have achieved and hope they can cap it off with a great win.
How are you feeling heading into the final? Tense, focused, switched on, or all three?
“We’re switched on, for sure, because when you come into a match like this, you’ve already gone through a process which undoubtedly leaves its mark. We know how much commitment and desire we’ve shown to be here today and tomorrow. So, I’d use the words switched on. Of course, we’re also focused and determined. It’s normal to feel tense because it’s a final and because, as I said, we’ve needed a lot of commitment to get here, so it’s to be expected that you feel those kinds of emotions, which often help you do things better.”
What did Mourinho say to you about his future?
“We had a very honest conversation. I think it’s only right that it stays between us. When the time comes, it’ll be up to him to talk about his future.”
How did you feel after this conversation?
“We felt motivated for tomorrow’s game.”
Is this final a steppingstone to something even greater?
“I think that there’s always something greater, even though ultimately, the most important thing is never settling, whatever it is you’re doing. As we’ve shown, we gave everything in the Conference League and winning it felt incredible. This year, we’ve given everything in the Europa League and we really want to win it. That’s how we’re programmed, and that’s also thanks to the coach, who is very attentive both in terms of football and on a personal level, trying to encourage you to give your all. We’re used to leaving it all out there on the pitch.
“That’s how it is right now. Now, it’s the Europa League and we’ve left everything out there. We also did that in other competitions but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. We’re really grateful for the journey we’ve been on because it’s been difficult at times. We’ve had lots of must-win matches when not only did 11 players have to step out there but 11 men had to rise to the occasion. We’ve always done that. Consequently, I believe this final will be the pinnacle of this challenging yet beautiful journey. We can’t wait to play tomorrow.”
Do you have any idea why Spanish teams do well in matches where the winner takes all?
“I think it’s because they are great sides who are used to playing with a certain amount of intensity and at a particular technical and tactical level. We know that it will be a difficult match but that’ll be the case for them too. At least this is what we’ve been preparing for. As I said before, we’re proud to be here. We’ve taken a path that has helped us improve a great deal and find the right balance. We’ve come here to play this fantastic final.”
How does it feel to hear people say that winning means parking the bus in front of the goal. It’s not the first time it’s been said about one of Mourinho’s sides, as people were saying it about Inter in 2010.
“We can’t help but laugh. That’s the first response. The second is that knowing how to go into a game on a tactical level does not always mean going all out on the attack and giving our opponents the best chance to score against us. For me, going into a match with the right tactics means trying to stop our opponents from doing what they’re best at. We always analyse our opponents and try to understand the best way to curb their strengths. To tell you the truth, I think we’ve managed to do that given that we’re in the final and those who have a lot to say aren’t here today.”
What do you think has changed for you personally and for the team from the last time you played Sevilla in August 2020, besides the Mourinho effect?
“At the start, there could have been some changes which impacted our performances. However, what actually happened was what we wanted: to create a group of people who care. I want to link it back to the question about parking the bus. Showing commitment and running that bit more for your team-mate is not about parking the bus, but about wanting to be here today. It’s about wanting to be here really badly. I think that was one of our starting points. Then the coach came in, taught us and shaped us with his mentality and uniqueness.”
Mancini shared similar sentiments and felt the team had prepared in the best way possible ahead of the match.
Have you done anything differently preparing for the match tomorrow or will you start from your best quality, being solid and compact at the back, then seeing what happens?
“We’ve prepared for it like a final. It’s obvious that you have to go out and play finals with the right mindset, heart, determination, skill and tactics. This match is different from all the others we’ve played. As Lorenzo said, it’s been a tough and very long path getting to this point. We know that we fully deserve it. We’ll need to blend so many different things together to make sure we’re present for 90 or 120 minutes in tomorrow’s match. We know we’re facing a great side. We’ve been preparing for two days and we’re aware of what we’ve seen and done to prepare for this match in the best way possible.”
Why did you choose to train in Trigoria? And is Dybala fully fit?
“We feel more at home in Trigoria because we have everything we need. We’ve always done it that way and feel comfortable with it. As for Paulo, he’s been with us, walking and is doing well. We hope he can give us a hand.”
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