Tonight, Roma and Lazio will face each other in a crucial match, which will be Jose Mourinho's 120th derby and the first in Rome.
I only knew about the 1,000th game thanks to you in the media telling me,”
said Mourinho in his press conference.
“Derbies are wonderful for a coach, because he doesn’t have to worry about motivating anyone or checking for concentration levels. It was more worrying preparing for Udinese, but with a derby, everyone is 100 per cent in the game.
“We play to win, even if we cannot always win, and are facing a side with our same ambitions. What I want is for my lads to leave the field knowing they’ve given everything.
“It is a privilege for me to experience what it means to play the Rome Derby, but I also want my team to have ambitions that go beyond the derby. It isn’t our only objective of the season.”
Lorenzo Pellegrini was suspended after his second yellow card due to a dangerous move, but the good news for Mourinho is the return of
“There is only one Pellegrini. I didn’t want to talk about this, but I have to. Having Pellegrini is one thing, not having him is another. He has leadership, he is a fine captain, but he’s not there. The referee did something stupid, but what’s the point of arguing?
“You want to ask who will play instead of him, but I will not tell you.”
The Portuguese tactician had a similar approach to a question about Lazio’s high press under Maurizio Sarri.
“That is a good question, but it is the type I don’t like to answer, because it would give too much away. I’ll just say that we defend without the ball and when we have to ball, we want to score.”
Roma was a surprise destination for Mourinho, something he calls a challenge.
“It’s a different challenge, but a challenge, no doubt. When we talked for the first time, I had no doubts from the first minute. We know where we are, where we want to be and how we want to get there.
“I worked at clubs before where there were doubts. Here there are no doubts. It is not the most difficult squad to work with, but it is my most difficult challenge.”
Mourinho finally said a few words to
, whose father died of cancer yesterday.
“It is his decision whether or not to be in the squad tomorrow. We are all with him and it’s important he decides how and when to start living with a world without his father.”
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