Football Features

Does Jose Mourinho have a new bogey team? Norway defeat has Roma chasing second-leg fightback

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:59, 7 April 2022 | Updated: 12:30, 25 August 2022

Roma manager Jose Mourinho insists his side are still favourites to reach the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League despite losing 2-1 to Bodo/Glimt.

The Italian team will be among the favourites to win the inaugural Europa Conference League this season as one of the bigger clubs left in the tournament.

After winning their group, Roma earned a bye to the round of 16 where they faced Dutch side Vitesse, and scraped through thanks to Tammy Abraham’s injury-time winner the second leg.

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Their reward was a tie against Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt, a team not many would have heard of before the start of the season. But now football fans, and Mourinho, will certainly remember who they are.

This was the first time Mourinho’s Roma were drawn against Bodo/Glimt, as they also faced off in the group stages of the Europa Conference League. In the first game, Bodo/Glimt shocked the world, handing Mourinho the joint-heaviest defeat of his career, winning 6-1 in Bodo back in October.

The return fixture was also a tough one for Roma as they had to come from behind twice to draw 2-2 at the Stadio Olimpico, with Roger Ibanez scoring a 84th-minute equaliser. Roma would have expected to get the better of their Norwegian opposition in the quarter-finals, but that was not the case.

Instead, Roma lost a 1-0 lead to eventually go down 2-1, this time falling to a late goal from 22-year-old Hugo Vetlesen. It means Mourinho has now gone three games without victory against Bodo/Glimt, and that puts the Norwegian side in very good company.

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Only against Real Madrid has Mourinho managed more games without a win, going five unsuccessful matches against Los Blancos – four while in charge of Porto and one with Manchester United in the 2017 Uefa Super Cup.

Despite this, Mourinho is still confident of his side advancing to the semi-finals, where one of Leicester or PSV await.

“The two goals were from a set play and a deflection,” Mourinho told Sky Sport Italia.

“We score a lot of goals from set play too, but it’s a good one to score, a bad one to concede. The first goal was ridiculous.

“To be honest, the thing that worries me the most is the injury for Mancini. It’s a concern, it’s something caused by playing on a plastic turf.

“We lost 2-1, we have the second leg to play at the Olimpico in front of our fans and I have no problem saying right now that I feel we are the favourites to reach the semi-final.

“I have total faith in my players, in the stadium, the support from our people. Obviously, Bodo/Glimt are a difficult team, but I also have faith we will have a good referee and assistant in the second leg.

“When we played in Rome against them, were two very clear penalties for us that the referee did not see, while today there were two moves that were flagged offside and the first half ended with a ridiculous situation as the offside flag was up on a throw-in, which shows you the level.”