Roma manager Jose Mourinho remains unfazed by Sevilla’s illustrious history in the Europa League as the two teams prepare to clash in the final in Budapest on Wednesday.
Sevilla, aiming for a record-extending seventh triumph, will face Mourinho’s Roma side in a match dubbed ‘The Specialists against The Special One’ by Hungarian media.
Mourinho boasts an impressive record in major European finals, having yet to suffer defeat in five previous encounters as a manager. In contrast, Sevilla has emerged victorious in all six of their previous Europa League finals.
However, Mourinho emphasized that historical achievements hold little significance in determining the outcome of the upcoming clash.
During a press conference, the Portuguese tactician stated, “History does not play. My colleague (Sevilla head coach Jose Luis Mendilibar) thinks otherwise, and I respect that. He believes that history makes Sevilla favorites, but we are in the final because we deserve to be.”
Acknowledging Sevilla’s impressive track record, Mourinho acknowledged that reaching the final is a routine occurrence for them, whereas it represents an extraordinary event for his team.
Nevertheless, Mourinho exuded confidence in Roma’s abilities, highlighting their deserving place in the final and the wealth of European experience they have gained over the past two seasons.
Mourinho aims to etch his name in the history books as the first manager to win the Europa League with three different clubs, following his previous successes with Porto in 2003 and Manchester United in 2017.
Both Roma and Sevilla possess talented squads, and Mourinho emphasized the significance of coaching experience while acknowledging the familiarity of Sevilla’s players with playing in finals.
Roma’s journey to the final included finishing second in their Europa League qualifying group behind Real Betis and triumphing over RB Salzburg, Real Sociedad, Feyenoord, and Bayer Leverkusen in the knockout stages.
Mourinho’s recent European trophy triumph came last season when he led Roma to victory in the inaugural Europa Conference League final against Feyenoord.
Roma’s chances in the final could be bolstered by the potential return of former Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, who has been recovering from a hip injury. Additionally, Argentina’s Paulo Dybala hopes to feature despite an ankle injury.
Sevilla’s head coach, Jose Luis Mendilibar, aims to secure a record-extending seventh tournament win and become the oldest manager to claim the Europa League trophy at the age of 62.
Mendilibar emphasized the importance of minimizing mistakes in high-stakes encounters and stated that the team committing the fewest errors at the Puskas Arena will emerge victorious.
Under Mendilibar’s guidance, Sevilla has experienced a remarkable transformation since his appointment in March, rising from a precarious position just above LaLiga’s relegation zone to secure an 11th-place finish with a comfortable gap from the drop zone.
Their successful Europa League campaign has seen them overcome formidable opponents such as Manchester United and Juventus in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively.