Mourinho breaks down in tears as Roma reach Europa League final with ‘Chris Smalling on the bench’ hailed for triumph
JOSE MOURINHO broke down in tears after leading Roma to the Europa League final as he praised defender Chris Smalling for making the difference.
The Serie A side earned a goalless draw away at Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday evening to clinch a 1-0 aggregate victory.
Jose Mourinho was visibly emotional after the final whistleReuters
Roma celebrated a second European final in as many yearsGetty
They will now meet Sevilla in the final on May 31 as they bid to add to last season’s Europa Conference League title.
And Mourinho, 60, singled out former Manchester United centre-back Smalling, 33, after the game despite him only coming on in the 78th minute.
The Portuguese coach said: “It was played on details. If we hadn’t had Smalling on the bench, we probably wouldn’t have gotten this draw.
“We lost Spinazzola, then Celik, if we hadn’t had him (Smalling) at that time, it would have been very hard.
“The boys gave everything, this match is the result of our work, our experiences, our tactical mastery and the fact of having known how to stay in the game.
“We are a fantastic team.”
Roma had not reached a European final in more than 30 years before Mourinho’s arrival at the club.
Now they are one game away from back-to-back European titles.
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Mourinho has a 100 per cent record in his five European finals to date.
But he will have to overcome six-time winners Sevilla if he is to maintain that streak.
Roma are also relying on a Europa League triumph to secure Champions League qualification.
They sit sixth in Serie A, six points adrift of the top four with just three games remaining.