Mourinho says 'we are two great teams' ahead of Europa League final
Roma boss Jose Mourinho said Sevilla’s six previous Europa League trophy wins will count for little against his side in Wednesday’s final in Budapest.
Sevilla are bidding for a record-extending seventh triumph at the Puskas Arena, in a match the Hungarian media have dubbed ‘The Specialists against The Special One’.
Mourinho has yet to lose in five major European finals as a manager, while Sevilla have won all six of their Europa League finals.
The Portuguese told a press conference: “History does not play. My colleague (Sevilla head coach Jose Luis Mendilibar) thinks otherwise, I have respect for him.
“He believes that history makes Sevilla favourites, I respect that. We are in the final because we deserve to be.
“They have a history that we do not have. For them to play the final is a normal thing, for us it is an extraordinary event.”
Mourinho is aiming to become the first manager to win the Europa League with three different clubs after previous successes with Porto (2003) and Manchester United (2017).
The 60-year-old former Chelsea boss added: “We are two great teams, with high-level players.
“It’s curious because we talk about coaching experience, but we face a Sevilla side that has very accustomed players.
“They are a bit more experienced in finals, but my team comes here ready. We have played a lot of European games in the last two seasons.”
Mourinho’s latest European trophy triumph came last season when he led Roma to victory over Feyenoord in the inaugural Europa Conference League final.
Roma finished second in this season’s Europa League qualifying group behind Real Betis and overcame RB Salzburg, Real Sociedad and Feyenoord in the knockout rounds before edging past Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 on aggregate in their semi-final.
The Italian side, currently sixth in Serie A with one game remaining, could be boosted by the return of former United defender Chris Smalling (hip), while Argentina’s Paulo Dybala is hoping to play some part despite an ankle injury.
Sevilla head coach Mendilibar, 62, will become the oldest manager to win the Europa League if the Andalusians seal a record-extending seventh tournament win.
He said the side which makes the fewest errors on the night at the Puskas Arena will prevail.
The former Eibar and Alaves boss said: “Mistakes are what you pay for in games like this and it’s about making the fewest mistakes possible.
“We’ve eliminated big teams, but the most difficult one is ahead of us. Whoever makes the fewest mistakes will win.”
Mendilibar has transformed Sevilla since replacing Jorge Sampaoli at the end of March when they were two points above LaLiga’s relegation zone.
They have risen to 11th in the table, 10 points clear of the drop zone with one game left, and won their Europa League quarter-final and semi-final under Mendilibar against United and Juventus respectively.