Serie A TIM


Jose Mourinho gave plenty of credit to both sides after seeing Roma run out 4-2 winners against Empoli on Sunday night.

A supreme first half performance saw the Giallorossi run up a 4-0 advantage at the Stadio Carlo Castellani; an advantage that proved more than sufficient to clinch victory despite a resurgent second half display from the hosts.

Tammy Abraham (2), Sergio Oliveira and Nicolo Zaniolo got on the scoresheet for Roma - here's what Mourinho had to say about the contest in the aftermath...

Did you expect your side to a better job of controlling the game at 4-0?

“Yes, but it’s still a really good result. Winning at Empoli is never easy and to win 4-2 is a great result. Before the game started we knew that Lazio and Atalanta had drawn and so had Fiorentina [against Cagliari], so it was really important for us that we got the three points – and we managed to do that.

“I think for you guys it was a great second half; if we had made it 5-0 then people would have turned the TV off. So at least we kept the viewing figures up. Congratulations to my players and also to Empoli, because when you are losing 4-0 and you manage to keep the game alive for as long as they did then you deserve a lot of credit.”

What about the job Henrikh Mkhitaryan did on Samuele Ricci tonight. That seemed to be partly where Roma won the game, because Empoli weren’t expecting that and he dictates the play for them…

“I think so, yes. When you are given the freedom to play in that part of the pitch, especially when you have the sort of quality the kid [Ricci] has … we analysed the opposition and we prepared for the game really well. Micki did really well.

“In the second half, that intensity dropped off a bit when it came to the pressing and I think Micki noticed that the pressure from the forwards wasn’t quite the same. Only when we dropped into a line of three in central midfield with Sergio Oliveira and Jordan Veretout [and Bryan Cristante] were we able to close the spaces a bit and gain a bit more control of proceedings. But, at the start of the second half until they made it 4-2 we were in a bit of trouble.

“But in situations like this I don’t really like to talk about our issues, but rather give credit to the quality of the opposition – they played well. If someone had offered me a last-minute 1-0 win before we kicked off then I would have taken it.”

What has Sergio Oliveira brought to this side?

“He’s different from some of the others, although he is not the ‘regista’ that some say he is – we don’t have a player like that. He’s not that type either and I already knew that very well, because Portuguese football is in my blood. I know Sergio, I knew he would give us something more with his physicality and his decision-making.

“He’s not some magician on the ball but he rarely makes a bad decision and he has character, he knows how to manage a game and when to buy a foul or slow things down. I think he has a different level of experience, coming from a side that is always fighting to win the title, and that gives you a certain attitude and mentality that we really needed to bring in.”

As his coach, how many goals are you expecting from Tammy Abraham now?

“Every game. He needs to try to do that, he needs to have that sort of expectation on him. From a striker I want lots of goals. But if you don’t score but do a lot of other things to help the team, then I will still be happy.”

(Photo LaPresse)