Jose Mourinho admits he was ‘lying to myself’ that his 1,000th match was not special and thanked ‘somebody up there’ who helped Roma beat Sassuolo in stoppages, sparking his ‘childlike’ run under the Curva Sud.
It was an extraordinary night at the Olimpico, as the Neroverdi realistically will feel they could even have won it with the number of chances they created, let alone emerge with a 2-1 defeat.
On the other hand, Stephan El Shaarawy’s curler at the 91st minute sent the Giallorossi players, supporters and their coach wild, running under the Curva Sud to celebrate.
It was the perfect way to mark Mou’s 1,000th match as a coach, not to mention maintaining his perfect start to the season.
“During the week, I lied to myself, telling everyone this was not a special game. I was trying to convince myself it was not special. It was a special match.
“It was a match with a special number for me, which until the last day of my life I will always remember this was the 1,000th game. I was terrified the eternal memory would be of a defeat.
“It was an incredible sensation. It could’ve been 6-6, 7-7, Sassuolo could’ve won 2-1 as well, Rui Patricio made a couple of incredible saves, we missed two open goals. It was an absolutely extraordinary match.
“I did not feel 58 years old today, I felt 10-12-14 years old, the age when you start to dream of a career in football. It was the run of a child.”
Mourinho was full of praise for Sassuolo coach Alessio Dionisi, recognising that the Neroverdi deserved at the very least a point.
“I apologised to Dionisi afterwards, because it was a fantastic match, they could easily have won just as well as we did. I cannot forget that the feelings Dionisi has now are the ones I felt many times. He is an excellent coach, has a great side and gives his teams a real identity.
“This is a very, very good team. I knew that from the first day I started studying them, so these are three truly important points. Maybe someone up there decided I deserved this memory for my 1,000th match.”
Mourinho even interrupted his post-match interview to bring Dionisi in.