Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso has learned ‘a lot’ from José Mourinho but warns the Roma coach that there are ‘no friends’ when the game begins.



The former Spain international and Mourinho will reunite again on Thursday in a Europa League semifinal second leg at the BayArena. The Giallorossi won the reverse fixture at the Stadio Olimpico 1-0 last week.

Alonso played 151 games at Real Madrid under Mourinho, scoring three goals.

“I love him and I’ve learned so much from him. It will be nice to see him, but when the game begins there are no friends,” the former midfielder said at a pre-match press conference on Wednesday, as quoted by Il Corriere dello Sport.

The pair won one Copa del Rey, one La Liga title and one Spanish Supercup during their time in Madrid.

“We’ll need a good balance between intensity, passion and good defence. Roma are a strong team, but we can make it if we give our best in our stadium and with our fans,” continued Xabi Alonso.

“We are happy to have reached the semifinals, but we want more. For a team not accustomed to having these opportunities, this is a golden chance.

“We expect an intense game against Roma but want to believe in it with our fans. Hopefully, it will be a historic night at the BayArena.”

When asked what his team would have to change after the first leg, Xabi replied: “We have to score, this is the only difference.”

Mourinho and Xabi Alonso hugged each other warmly before kick-off in the first leg in Rome last week. During his time at Real Madrid, the Special One had predicted Xabi Alonso would have become a coach after retiring.

Mourinho will address the media later today with his pre-match press conference beginning at 17:20 GMT+1.

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