Mancini reveals Abraham’s request before Conference League Final

epa09472499 Roma's Gianluca Mancini (R) celebrates with his coach Jose Mourinho (2-L) after scoring the 4-1 lead during the UEFA Europa Conference League soccer match between AS Roma and CSKA Sofia in Rome, Italy, 16 September 2021. EPA-EFE/FABIO FRUSTACI

Gianluca Mancini admits Roma players initially thought the Conference League was the ‘cup of jokes’ and reveals the request made by Tammy Abraham to the team before tomorrow’s Final.

The Giallorossi face Feyenoord in the Conference League Final in Tirana tomorrow and could win their first trophy since 2008. Today, Gianluca Mancini met the media at a pre-match press conference with captain Lorenzo Pellegrini and the Giallorossi coach José Mourinho.

When did Roma players think they could reach the Final for the first time?

“Since the start of the season, to be honest. Our target was to reach the final, of course, it’s not as easy to make it,” the Italy defender admitted.

“We thought the group stage was easy, we thought it was the ‘cup of jokes’, but after that heavy defeat against Bodo/Glimt we’ve faced every match to reach the final. We have one last game remaining to accomplish something unique.

“It’s the most important game of my career, I’ve played a Coppa Italia final, but in Europe, it’s different. It’s more difficult to get where we are,” he continued. The 26-year-old has collected 21 yellow cards across all competitions this season and was asked whether he will be as aggressive as he usually is tomorrow.

“Are you asking me if I’ll get a yellow card tomorrow as well?” he replied, smiling.

“That’s my way of playing and I won’t change it. It’s a final and we must be as focused as possible.”

Roma played their last league match on Friday against Torino, while Feyenoord’s last game was on May 15 against Twente.

“The game of Torino was a proper game, while Feyenoord could rest a bit more than us. However, we played on Friday, so we had time to recover,” said Mancini.

“As I said before, this is a final, and we can’t relax. We feel well, physically and mentally. Marash Kumbulla has talked about the city and he has told us that local fans will support Roma.”

Tomorrow’s final will see the two best scorers of the competition meet: Feyenoord’s Cyriel Dessers has netted 10 goals, one more than Roma’s Abraham. Has the England striker asked Mancini to stop Dessers and help him become the leading scorer in the competition?

“He hasn’t only asked me, but the whole team,” Mancini admitted.

“We have studied him [Dessers ], he is a good striker, but we have a better one. I hope that tomorrow at 23.30 Abraham will be the best scorer.”

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