Mourinho: The Europa Conference League is Roma's Champions League

By Sports Desk May 21, 2022

Jose Mourinho declared the Europa Conference League as Roma's Champions League ahead of the final against Feyenoord, while he cannot visualise retiring.

Roma face Eredivisie side Feyenoord in the inaugural Europa Conference League showpiece in Tirana on Wednesday..

The Eternal City giants are already guaranteed to play Europa League football next season, having secured a top-six finish in Serie A with one game to play.

Mourinho has Champions League titles to his name from his time at Porto and Inter, alongside a Europa League crown with Manchester United.

The Portuguese coach is determined to get on his hands on another European trophy. 

"I am a coach with a certain history and Roma are a big club," he told UEFA's Italian website. "I did feel a little bit of responsibility to make this a big competition.

"We slowly realised our ambition to go as far as possible. With pride, we saw the semi-finals played in packed stadiums with a total 170,000 fans present.

"The Conference League is our Champions League. This is the level we are at, the competition we are playing for. The club has not reached a game like this for a very long time."

Roma have not lifted a trophy since the 2007-08 season, when they won the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, and Mourinho expects his side to rise to the occasion as they strive to end the drought.

"We must forget that. In my view, you need to treat the final as a one-off match that brings pressure, tension and a sense of responsibility," he continued.

"We must only focus on the final and the opponent we are up against, forget the history of Roma right now. Obviously, it'd be marvellous to win for the city, the club and all of us.

"If I do win four European trophies with four different clubs, I will never forget the first, the Cup Winners' Cup in 1996-97 as assistant to Bobby Robson at Barcelona. Every time I sat next to him on the bench, I felt very proud."

"Every new target means more than the one before. Winning the first means you could just be in the right place at the right time. Winning a second is tougher, winning a third is even more difficult than the second.

"It is one thing to win, quite another to achieve success and win continually for your entire career."

Regardless of the outcome of the final, Mourinho insists he has no intentions to call time on his managerial career in the near future.

"Before Manchester United versus Real Madrid in 2013, [Alex] Ferguson invited me to his office, which then later became my office. I asked him: 'How's it going, boss? Does it change over the years?'," he added.

"He replied: 'Don't be daft, nothing changes. It remains the same to the final day.' This is why I keep saying I can't believe I am 59 years old. I can't believe I have a career of 21, 22 years as a coach behind me.

"I cannot tell you when I will retire, because I simply can't visualise it. The passion does not change."

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