Jose Mourinho praised Paulo Dybala for his contribution to Roma’s Europa League quarter-final victory, claiming that “he has found joy here”.
Jose Mourinho hailed Paulo Dybala for his crucial contribution in Roma’s Europa League quarter-final victory against Feyenoord. Dybala scored a late equalizer that led to Roma’s dramatic extra-time win over Feyenoord, securing their place in the semi-finals against Bayer Leverkusen. The Italian side came from behind to defeat Feyenoord 4-2 on aggregate at Stadio Olimpico.
Roma faced the risk of being knocked out after Feyenoord’s Igor Paixao scored to equalize the 1-0 lead from the first leg, putting Roma behind. However, Paulo Dybala, who missed the previous victory against Udinese due to injury, came on as a substitute and scored with a quick turn and finish to even the score, leading to extra time.
Stephan El Shaarawy and Lorenzo Pellegrini scored additional goals to secure Roma’s victory and advance to the Europa League semi-finals against Bayer Leverkusen.
Mourinho hailed Paulo Dybala’s performance after he scored his 16th goal of the season, which was also his fourth in the Europa League, a feat that has been surpassed only by Marcus Rashford, Victor Boniface (both six), and Santiago Gimenez (five).
“My feeling is that he was seeking the joy, he had lost more than confidence,” Mourinho told Sky Sport Italia.
“He found it here. He has found a coach who understands him. a crowd that loves him. And a space on the field in which to be a leader with his quality and personality.
“Dybala is a nice boy. He has the quality to play for the biggest clubs in the world, but he has found joy here.
“I gave him absolute freedom to come on tonight, and he could come off even two minutes later if he didn’t feel up to it. But he played 30 minutes of extra time and 25 minutes regular, and he finished on a high.”
Dybala reveals his admiration for Mourinho
Dybala expressed his admiration for Mourinho, who led Roma to win the Europa Conference League title in the previous season. He is now on the verge of securing his sixth European competition victory.
“I think everyone knows Mourinho. His history. What he’s done in Europe and at every club he worked at, I think he won something,” Dybala added.
“His mentality fuels you. He knew the game could end up like this and pushed us to give something more. He changed the tactical system, we started playing better and dominated extra time for a deserved victory.
“I think we all want to win, which is the most important thing. We have a coach with an incredible mentality. He told us the game would be like that, and he was absolutely right.
“This squad won the Europa Conference League last season, so they know what it takes to win. Now, we hope to go all the way in the Europa League too.”