Jose Mourinho will be heading to a familiar hunting ground in the Coppa Italia next month, after Roma beat Lecce 3-1 in the last-16 of the Coppa Italia on Thursday evening.
The Giallorossi will face Inter Milan at San Siro for a place in the semi-finals of the competition, after Mourinho saw his side come from behind to clinch a comfortable victory.
Marash Kumbulla, Tammy Abraham and Eldor Shomurodov got themselves on the scoresheet at the Olimpico - here's what the coach had to say after the game.
It feels like this Roma can’t do without certain players...
“Unfortunately that’s true. It’s what I have been saying: our squad has its limitations and we are aware of that. Maitland-Niles and Sergio Oliveira have given us a boost, they’ve brought with them more quality and they offer us more options and that is already a valuable thing for us. But our project is about building things little-by-little.”
Will it be a different Roma side needed to face Inter in the next round?
“There’s still a long way to go before that, there is an international break and plenty of other games in the meantime. I don’t have any doubt about it, Inter are the best team, and the best squad, in the league and therefore also in the Coppa Italia. So we have got drawn against the toughest opponent, but we will go there to try and cause an upset. Let’s see if that is possible.”
If you had to give a verdict on things so far, how happy are you?
“In terms of the emotional side of it; the passion, the empathy, the happiness to be working for Roma and the Roma fans … from one to 10 I would say 11. I am really pleased to be part of a club where I feel the support of those around me and the trust they have. I could not be happier to be here.
“In terms of the football side, playing to finish between fourth and eighth is clearly not what I want. But it’s just a moment we are in. It’s a different project for me and certainly next season will be better than this one.
“Having said that, I don’t want to shy away from the frustration I felt in the first half tonight, because from a technical perspective we played a horrible game. And on nights like that there is not much value in talking about tactics – because it’s very difficult.
“Nevertheless, overall I’m happy: I would not change being coach of Roma and being a part of this project for any other one. I have given my word: before the three years [of my contract] are up, I will not leave. It’s my project too.”
What will it be like for you to return to the San Siro?
“I really don’t know. I will have to prepare myself a bit emotionally, as I did already in our league meetings, to try not to get too emotional and try to treat it like any other game. I will go there with the intention to put out the best possible Roma side I can and I am sure the Inter fans will do what they can to help their team. But I am sure they will show me a lot of respect, because the fans don’t forget what’s been achieved in the past.”