The Final One: Mourinho leads Roma to his 5th European final
Gesticulating on the touchline in a black vest and a gray hooded sweatshirt, José Mourinho could have easily been mistaken for one of the 70,000 fans inside the Stadio Olimpico.
The outspoken Portuguese coach had told Roma supporters before the Europa Conference League semifinal that they shouldn’t come to the stadium just “to watch” the game but rather “to play” it.
Well, the fans did their part by creating a loud, suffocating atmosphere for 90 minutes and Mourinho did his job by directing Roma to a 1-0 win (2-1 on aggregate) over Leicester on Thursday and a spot in the final, reports AP.
It will mark the fifth European final of Mourinho’s career — and he has won all four that he’s coached in so far — over a span of nearly two decades: the 2003 UEFA Cup and 2004 Champions League finals with Porto; the 2010 Champions League final with Inter Milan; and the 2017 Europa League final with Manchester United.
Mourinho is already the first coach to reach a UEFA final with four different clubs (Porto, Inter, United and Roma).
What’s more is that if Mourinho can coach Roma to a win over Feyenoord in the May 25 final in Tirana, Albania, he would become only the third coach to win three different UEFA competitions after Giovanni Trapattoni and Udo Lattek — who both won the European Cup, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.
It was a typical Mourinho match: Roma took the lead through a Tammy Abraham header in the first half then just barely held on as the Giallorossi packed in and defended throughout the second half.
It may have not been pretty — Mourinho’s teams rarely are — but the tactic worked.
While Roma is in fifth place in Serie A and has missed out on the Champions League places, the inaugural edition of the third-tier Conference League has already made Mourinho’s first season at Roma successful.
It will be Roma’s first European final since losing the 1991 UEFA Cup trophy to domestic rival Inter Milan.
Roma also lost its only other continental final, after a penalty shootout against Liverpool in the 1984 European Cup at its home stadium.