Zalewski thanks Mourinho for Roma transformation

by | May 25, 2022 23:51

Nicola Zalewski thanks Jose Mourinho after going from Roma youth academy to starting the Conference League Final. ‘I think we deserved this trophy.’

The Poland international was born and raised in Rome from Polish parents and came up through the youth academy to become a regular for the Giallorossi.

Conference League Final | Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo wins first European trophy

He was in the starting XI for the Conference League Final, which saw them beat Feyenoord 1-0 in Tirana with a Nicolò Zaniolo goal. Was he nervous?

“To be honest, I tried to think about it as little as possible. The emotions were still there, I won’t deny it, in the end all the thoughts were positive and they repaid all the work we’ve done this season. I think we deserved it,” Zalewski told Sky Sport Italia.

How does he play like a veteran, always taking men on with his head held high?

“If I got the ball and played with my head down, I wouldn’t be doing what the coach asks. He wants me to run at opponents and keep my head up, look for the pass. I know I still need to improve defensively, but I’m working on it.”

Roma had brought in Matias Vina and then Ainsley Maitland-Niles as replacements for Leonardo Spinazzola, but this 20-year-old kid pushed all of them onto the bench.

“The coach simply told me that my opportunity would come and I had to make the most of it, so that’s what I did. I think we all deserved this trophy.”

Zalewski suffered heartache too last year, losing his father after a long illness, and it was for him that he chose to play international football for Poland. Who would the 20-year-old thank today as he lifted that trophy?

“If I had to name one person, it’d be the coach. If I could name many, it’d be all my teammates, the club and those who stood by me. I hope this is just the beginning.”

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