Jose Mourinho criticised Roma for needing four attempts to defeat Bodo/Glimt after the Serie A side progressed to the Europa Conference League semi-finals on Thursday.
Roma failed to defeat Bodo/Glimt in two meetings in the group stage, including a 6-1 thrashing in Norway, before falling to a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of their last-eight meeting.
The latter clash was marred by an altercation between Bodo/Glimt coach Kjetil Knutsen and Roma goalkeeping coach Nuno Santos, with the former accusing the latter of an alleged assault in the tunnel.
The pair were suspended for the return leg in Italy, where a hat-trick from Nicolo Zaniolo and a strike from Tammy Abraham saw Roma cruise to a 4-0 win and 5-2 aggregate triumph.
Roma will next face Leicester City for a place in the final, but coach Mourinho was far from pleased with his side for taking four matches to claim their maiden victory against the Norwegian team.
“Even after the 2-1 first leg I was confident,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “The plan was to focus only on the pitch.
“It is unacceptable we only managed to beat this side at the fourth attempt, but it was the most important. It was 2-1 for them, it ended 5-2 for us.
“There was no doubt today. I told my team at half-time that it wasn’t about humiliating the opposition, winning 6-1 the way they did in Norway, it’s just about reaching the semi-final.
“Some fatigue set in later on but the team deserved it, we are now 12 games into the Conference League and it’s tough playing on Thursdays and the weekend, but we are here waving the Italian flag in Europe.”
3 – AS Roma is one of the only four sides able to reach at least three times the Semi-finals in the European competitions considering the last five seasons (since 2017/18, level with Arsenal, Liverpool and Real Madrid). Habitué. #RomaBodo pic.twitter.com/H73ghfXtQv
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) April 14, 2022
Mourinho also claimed Roma “play a lot better than what people say” before he hit out at the Italian media for their coverage of Zaniolo, who returned with a treble after being dropped against Salernitana.
“Zaniolo sells, so people talk about him when he plays, doesn’t play, is injured, on the bench,” he added. “It would be better for him and for all of Italian football to just leave him alone.
“We managed to hide the fact he would start today, people thought he’d be on the bench, but I knew he could attack the space.
“We are very happy, he will no doubt be on the front page for only positive reasons tomorrow.”
Roma will be hoping Zaniolo can deliver again when they visit Napoli on Monday in Serie A as they hunt for a place in Italy’s top four, sitting five points behind fourth-placed Juventus with six games left to play.
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