Jose Mourinho has clarified that he genuinely gets along with Maurizio Sarri after the derby draw and mentioned that they were joking around.
The derby displayed a tale of two halves, with Lazio dominating initially as Luis Alberto hit the post and Rui Patricio denied Alessio Romagnoli’s header. However, in the second half, Roma managed to level the playing field, surprising many who expected fatigue from their Europa League clash in Prague the previous Thursday.
“It feels like a point. We play to win. A point is positive. It’s better than a defeat, especially against a team with more or less the same objectives. It’s a point.” Mourinho told DAZN.
“The players in the best shape were chosen, especially in midfield. Renato Sanches, Pellegrini, Aouar are not in the best condition. We chose players who had the heart, mind, legs and nerves to play a game of this level.
“My strategy was to use the wing-backs who could compensate for the way Lazio play, as it was very, very tough for Spinazzola and Karsdorp.”
Jose Mourinho: We had only three defenders available
Interestingly, Roma has not scored a single goal in the last three editions of the derby under Mourinho against Sarri’s team.
“We had only three defenders available. When the referee has the criteria against us – only against us – to give two yellow cards to centre-backs in the first 20 minutes, that makes it very difficult for us.
“That changes the game tactically too. I told Karsdorp never jump on Marusic, as it gives an opportunity for Pedro to run into space. He’s fantastic at that.
“I thought the lads played with character. They saw a lot of the ball. I think it was roughly 50-50. We had a few scoring opportunities. I think if Bove was fresh, he’d have scored at least one of them.”
Paulo Dybala was not in great shape, but he managed to last for almost the full match at the Stadio Olimpico.
“This is his quality. He worked hard for us. He gave a sense of confidence to the team, the class that he has in transition, especially against Lazio who have many fresh legs to come off the bench, unlike us. If we sat back and defended the last 20 minutes, it would be difficult.”
Mourinho: I was Joking around with Sarri
Mourinho exchanged several bitter comments with Sarri over the past week, and they had a few exchanges on the touchline too, but the Special One assures that they do get along.
“He is always good fun with me, we joked around before the game about the words that were exchanged during the week. I also said something that is true, we do like each other.
“We joked after the match that the meaning of the draw is for the next two weeks neither of us will smile, but we won’t cry either. That’s the meaning of a draw.” Mourinho said about talking with Sarri.
The winner would have taken a significant step toward the Champions League places, but instead, they are both left mid-table and out of the European spots.
“We are three points off fourth place and as far as I am concerned, the season started in Week 4. If the season had started then, we would be in the Champions League spots.
“During that period, there was just one disastrous performance against Genoa, but for the rest we played to our potential. That potential is damaged by lacking players such as Smalling and Renato Sanches.
“We can only hope that the players return to at least some level of fitness so we can use them. Renato Sanches is the example of a player who can give us a great deal, if we can play him.”
At the end, Jose Mourinho was asked if he is satisfied with the season so far.
“I am very demanding with myself. This is my nature, I am never satisfied.”