AS Roma Jose Mourinho has served a response after being called out over the “ugly” tactics he employed during the second leg of the Europa League semi-final clash with Bayer Leverkusen.
Roma progressed to the final of the Europa League after grabbing a draw during the match. The Italian club which had a 1-0 advantage, sat inside their half in the second-leg of semi-final match and defended with their bodies.
Xabi Alonso’s men had 23 attempts and failed to convert any. Roma on the other hand failed to register a single shot on target.
Criticizing Mourinho after the match, Leverkusen midfielder Kerem Demirbay said;
“It’s a shame that in a semi-final at such a high level that this type of play can be rewarded. They made things very ugly at the end.”
When asked about the tactics and if he is physically fine, Mourinho said refrained from engaging in his trademark celebratory run on the pitch because of his close bond with Leverkusen manager, Xabi Alonso who he coached during his stint with Real Madrid.
“No, it’s not an agility problem. Experience doesn’t come into it because you still feel the pressure during these moments in the same way. You feel the same joy too. It doesn’t change anything.
“To tell you the truth, it’s very hard for me to come up against my friends because while you may forget during the game, it’s tough afterwards. I don’t like celebrating in front of my guys and the person doing an extraordinary job out there, Xabi, is one of mine. That’s why I struggle.”