Jose Mourinho insists Roma ‘deserved to win’ and he leaves the Stadio Maradona ‘feeling more confident than before,’ but reiterates ‘there is a star shining over Napoli this season.’



It was one of the best Giallorossi performances of the season and they made life very difficult for the runaway Serie A leaders at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Victor Osimhen opened the scoring with a simply stunning goal, just as he had at the Stadio Olimpico earlier this term, and Stephan El Shaarawy came off the bench to equalise on a Nicola Zalewski cross.

However, in the final minutes, substitute Giovanni Simeone managed to turn just inside the box and get the shot into the top corner for the 2-1 victory.

“We played really good football from the first minute. There was a period 10-15 minutes after Osimhen’s goal when we felt the injustice of going 1-0 down. Aside from that, the team was always in control, pressed high, recovered the ball, defended well,” Mourinho told DAZN.

“If there are games where you can lose and emerge feeling more confident than before, it might seem a contradiction, but this was one of those games. We are certainly the side that made Napoli suffer the most and made the stadium feel empty in an extraordinary atmosphere, as we scared them.

“I leave here more confident. Seeing our three substitutes at the end were three kids who last season were playing on the plastic pitch, it makes me so proud and happy. Sometimes football is unjust, sometimes the team that deserves it the most loses.

“At times we won without deserving, but today I think we deserved to win the game. I am sad about the result, you cannot smile too much when you lose, but with full hearts we move on.”

There were hugs and jokes with Luciano Spalletti before the game and Mourinho was asked what the two friends discussed in that moment.

“I thanked him for the birthday present he gave me before kick-off. I haven’t had the chance to open it yet. Receiving a gift from a colleague before a game is always nice,” said Mou, who turned 60 this week.

The Roma boss had said in his press conference that Napoli have already won the Scudetto, and he’s not going to change his mind now.

“I repeat what I said yesterday, and even more so, because this is a team that has the star of champions shining over them at crucial moments. I know that star, I have won eight league titles, and when there are tough moments, that star shines over you. This season, that star is there for Napoli.”

If Simeone represents the strength in depth that Napoli possess, then Mourinho again points out that Roma do not have those options to draw upon.

“Lorenzo Pellegrini has not trained with the squad for two weeks. He only trains separately, made a sacrifice to play today, he was not in good shape, you could see he was not sharp.

“I always said that with one game per week, we can be a very good team. The problem is trying to play like that two or three times at week, that becomes a problem.”

Roma caused the Partenopei lots of problems with their high press and aggressive approach.

“Napoli have incredible quality in the opposition half, so we accepted the risk of facing them and knew that they would not like the high press.

“Osimhen is so tough to play against, he’s an incredible, tough player, but if he does move to England one day, then he has to change. The people accept this sort of attitude in Italy.”

Mourinho was asked if Tammy Abraham limped off with a muscular injury and could that change the consideration of Nicolò Zaniolo if he does not accept the move to Bournemouth.

“First of all, I don’t know if it was an injury or fatigue. I want people like that, who want to play for Roma, who push through pain and fatigue to play.

“When you are not happy in a family situation, you have to leave, you have to find a solution. Family is for those who want to be there.”

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