Serie A TIM


Roma saw their way to a 1-0 victory over Cagliari on Sunday evening, as Sergio Oliveira scored the winner on his debut for the club.

Here's what coach Jose Mourinho had to say about the contest...

Why weren't Roma able to kill this one off sooner?

"Good question - I don't have an answer."

How important was it to win this game?

“Obviously it's really important. It was a game that was there to be made easy: score early in the second half to make it 2-0, then add another couple maybe ... it was a game we completely dominated. And yet it could have finished 1-1, if Rui Patricio had not made that amazing save from Joao Pedro when the ball hit the bar.

"It was an incredible save, but that moment was completely out of context of the rest of the match. We dominated the game and, when I say that, I mean we dominated it when we had the ball and when we didn't. Off the ball we played really well against a side that likes to attack in a very direct manner and today had two forwards up there.

We had complete control and yet a game that we should have won 4-0 or 5-0 could have finished 1-1. That's why I always felt a bit cocerned. I was a bit concerned until the end. Whenever you don't kill off a game you can always end up dropping points - as would have happened to us if not for Rui Patricio's save."

Apart from the wasteful finishing, what did you make of the performance of your back four tonight?

“For me, Marash Kumbulla was the best player tonight. He put in an amazing performance and that is a big satisfaction for me, because earlier in the season he had his issues and I was very harsh with him with the attitude and feedback I gave him in training. But he was always very calm, very humble and over time he's improved. I think he's better in a three-man defence, because that's the system he grew up playing in and where he feels most comfortable.

"Gianluca Mancini also played well, as did the two covering central midfielders - who did better in that respect than we did against Juventus. We worked on that in the week and today Jordan Veretout and Sergio Oliveira did really well."

Do you think this Roma team can now go on to put a run together over these next five games?

"Well, today we faced Cagliari and we struggled a bit to win."

But you did win in the end...

“Yes, we did, and it was important to win and that's what I told my players today. Whether it's 4-0, 5-0 or 1-0 in the last minute, it's a game we had to win.

"They showed their spirit and their willingness to dig in until the final minute. You are looking at the next five or six games where we are playing sides in the lower half of the table - but I still remember that we lost games against Bologna and Venezia and dropped points against Sampdoria. So there is no guarantee we will win these upcoming games. But the boys needed a win today and they got it. That's really important for us."

How desperate was this team for a player like Sergio Oliveira? He was everywhere today...

“To be honest, we need more Sergio Oliveiras. In the sense that we need more finished articles, players of 29 years of age who have experience and know what needs to be done in key moments of any game.

"I said that he is not what you guys in Italy would call a 'regista', he's not Pirlo or Pjanic, but he is nevertheless a player that we needed here.

"Maitland-Niles gives us more options: today Rick Karsdorp was on the bench after not training with us all week. If we didn't have Maitland-Niles then we would have been in real trouble today. So in the transfer market we have managed to add two players who, at the very least, improve the overall options we have."

(Photo LaPresse)