José Mourinho claimed that he and his team left with their dignity intact despite accusing Anthony Taylor of refereeing “like a Spaniard”, describing some of his decisions as a “scandal” and expressing his desire not to come up against him next season following Roma’s Europa League final loss to Sevilla.
Roma were defeated by Sevilla on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Budapest, inflicting a first European final defeat on the Portuguese coach who had won his previous five, and the coach said afterwards that he was “tired of having to be the one that says we have been robbed”.
Mourinho also said he could not commit to continuing as Roma coach and demanded that changes be made, but insisted that he had not spoken to any other clubs about his future.
“I have to defend my lads,” Mourinho said in a long discourse after the final, in which a potential handball from Fernando did not result in a penalty for Roma and the VAR overturned an initial decision to give Sevilla a penalty for a challenge on Lucas Ocampos by Roger Ibañez.
There were thirteen cards for the players alone, plus at least three more for people on the Roma bench, including Mourinho himself, as they pressured the officials, but Mourinho claimed to be furious at what he saw as a robbery.
He did not mention the opening goal for Roma which was preceded by a push on Ivan Rakitic that the Sevilla coach Jose Luis Mendilibar said “might be a foul – but then we coaches always defend ourselves.”
“I must say we’re used to this,” Mourinho said, “but this is a European final and with this kind of refereeing, it is hard to accept. If we talk about refereeing situations, it’s not two or three: it is many, quite apart from the big decisions. Those of us who have been in football a long time realise immediately what is going on.”
“Pellegrini falls in box and given a yellow card; Ocampos did exactly the same thing and he doesn’t get one. It’s a scandal. VAR called the referee and shames Ocampos but there’s no card given. Lamela – who, by the way, scored one of the penalties – deserved a second yellow but didn’t get it. And let’s not even talk about the big decisions. That’s just the small details. I told my players you can lose a match but never your dignity. We lost today but we did not lose our dignity. I won five finals but I have never been more proud than I am today. Happier, yes, but not more proud.”
“We missed two penalties and then Taylor and the VAR,” Mourinho continued, breaking to laugh. “Somehow we feared that something might happen … but that’s it. My players deserve more. I deserve more. They fight and deserve more. I am a bit tired of being coach, manager, communications director, of being the face that says we have been robbed. I am toted of all this. I will stay if the conditions to give more are there.”
“We won’t be playing the Champions league next year and that’s good news,” Mourinho added. “That might seem paradoxical but it is good. We’re a young team, not ready for the Champions League yet. And since Taylor is such a great referee let’s hope he and his blunders will only be in the Champions League and not in the Europa League where we are because we are more humble than that.”
Mendilibar meanwhile admitted that he thought that, having taken over just three months ago, won the Europa League and pulled Sevilla clear of the relegation zone, it would be “incredible” for him not to be offered the chance to continue. “For a coach who seemed to have won the chance to coach Sevilla in a raffle, winning this is not bad, eh,” he said.