Jose Mourinho puts his 100% record in major European finals on the line when Roma take on Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final.
This will be Mourinho’s fifth major European final and he has won all four so far – two with Porto and one each with Inter Milan and Manchester United. He knows how to get the result in big knockout matches.
The Italians reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2017/18 and the Europa League semi-finals last season, but major success is a hurdle they have yet to negotiate since they took over. won the Fairs Cup 61 years ago. So Roma go in search of their first victory in a UEFA-backed final – having lost in the showpieces of the 1984 European Cup and the 1991 UEFA Cup.
“I don’t believe in magic potions, I don’t believe in magic spells,” Mourinho said. “There’s nothing special to do, just us to be us as a team. To know the qualities we have, to know the limits we have.
“The story of ‘Special One’ is an old story. It was when I was at the beginning [of my career]. When you have more maturity and stability, you think more about people and less about yourself. It’s an old story. I don’t believe in magic – when you get to the final after a season of hard work, the job is done. This is the team’s moment, not an individual’s moment.
“If I win, I will become the first to win all European trophies, but that’s only if I win.
“We have come to the end of this season’s run with two finals to play in four days,” he added, highlighting their 3-0 victory over Turin on Friday which guaranteed them a place in the Europa League next season. .
“The first gave us what we deserved and had as our goal, which was to play in the Europa League and improve the club’s standings. We managed to win that final and for me it was a final where you don’t couldn’t go down in history: you’ve just finished the season’s work and achieved a goal.
“This, however, is the story.
Abraham: a final is a final
Up to 100,000 fans are expected to travel to Albania as each club is only allocated 4,000 tickets to the inaugural final of Europe’s third tier tournament.
The competition has been the subject of some criticism, but as it reaches its peak, the significance and excitement it creates for both groups of teams is beyond doubt.
Tammy Abraham enjoyed great European nights playing for Chelsea, but despite picking up a Champions League winners’ medal last season, Thomas Tuchel opted to leave Abraham out of his 23-man squad to face Man City in the final .
A year later, Abraham will be at Mourinho’s center after a very impressive debut season in Italy. The England international set a new record for most goals scored by an England player in a Serie A season after his brace in Roma’s 3-0 win in Turin on Friday took his tally to 17 .
Abraham has no doubts about the magnitude of the match and what is at stake: “For me, a final is a final, whether it’s the Champions League, the World Cup or the Conference and I want to win it.
“My teammates want to win it, all of Rome wants to win it. It’s important for us, we want to prepare mentally and physically. It’s been a long difficult season, we have to be ready.”
Slot machine: We know what Roma will do… play long balls
Since the group stages of the inaugural edition of the tournament, Feyenoord are the only team undefeated, with eight wins and four draws.
The Eredivisie side are seeking to become the first Dutch club to win a European title in 20 years, since beating Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Cup final in 2002.
Coach Arne Slot said he didn’t expect any surprises from Mourinho, having “seen a lot of Roma games” ahead of the final.
“We know what to expect, but you never know. Sometimes their coach has a little twitch in his game plan,” Slot said.
“But we’ve seen a lot so hopefully we’ve prepared in the right way… We’ve played 55 games so I’d be a bit surprised if he can think of something we haven’t yet. had .
“They almost always have the same style of play. It would surprise me if Roma tried to play from the back tomorrow. I expect them to play long balls over our defence.”
Team News: Return of Mkhitaryan
Mourinho says Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryanwho has not played since April due to a hamstring injury, returned to training ahead of the final.
Feyenoord’s first-choice keeper Justin Bijlow is likely to return from injury, manager Slot said.
Bijlow has been out of action since March after undergoing foot surgery. He had previously kept a clean sheet and conceded six goals in five group games and the first leg of the round of 16.