Roma needed extra-time to knock Feyenoord out of the Europa League, in what was a repeat of last season’s Europa Conference League final and Jose Mourinho thought he would give one journalist a memento of the occasion.
After trailing 1-0 from the first-leg, Roma fought back against the Eredivisie leaders to earn themselves a Europa League semi-final showdown with Bayer Leverkusen. An 89th minute strike from Paulo Dybala ensured the tie would need a further 30 minutes, after Igor Paixão looked to have sent the Dutch side into the next round with just 10 minutes remaining.
It was the Italian side that took advantage of extra-time, with goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini and Stephan El Shaarawy ensuring Jose Mourninho’s men went home happy, even if it look longer than the Portuguese manager was hoping for.
“With games like this you understand why I have so many white hairs: I think 150 games of European competitions, I’ve seen everything. Yesterday I told the players that it would be different, the important thing was to stay calm.” He joked during his post-match press conference.
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Jose, as usual after a victory, was in fine form and during the press conference, he made a beeline for Dutch journalist Joep Schreuder, with a gift in hand.
“It’s beautiful, ay” the Portuguese proclaimed, with a huge smile on his face after handing him a replica keyring of the Europa League Conference trophy, the tournament his side won last season, beating Feyenoord 1-0 in the final thanks to Nicolo Zaniolo’s goal.
The two had clashed in the press conference after Feyenoord’s 1-0 win in the first leg, with Jose seemingly taking offence to the Dutchman’s comments about how Roma had to be clinical in Tirana to beat the Eredivisie side, unlike they were in the Europa League clash.
“Today we agree, but for the past 10 months you were crying. “You know why, you cannot win the match that you lost. You lost a game, you cannot win that one. The only problem today, is that it is half-time. I promise you if I lose, I sleep, I don’t cry. And I will not go without sleeping for 10 months having nightmares.”
And just seven days later after his side had knocked out Feyenoord again, Jose had more words of wisdom for the journalist, before handing him the keepsake that he jokingly said he “would give to the coach”.
“I have a gift for you, but don’t cry for another 10 months because of it,” he told the reporter. “You are winning the league, you are playing well, so don’t cry.”
Jose never forgets.