Roma 3-4 Juventus
Roma boss José Mourinho says his team were exceptional for 70 minutes against Juventus on Sunday night, but admitted that mentality problems cost the Giallorossi in throwing away a tremendous advantage.
Roma led their fierce rivals 3-1 with twenty minutes left on the clock, before conceding three times in the space of eight minutes. Mourinho’s side also missed a late penalty to salvage a point, leaving the Portuguese stunned at the dramatic capitulation in the Italian capital.
The teams went into half time level at 1-1, after in-form striker Tammy Abraham’s opener for Roma was cancelled out by Pablo Dybala. Henrikh Mkhitaryan put the home side back in front shortly after play resumed and a stunning free-kick from Lorenzo Pellegrini five minutes later looked to have put Roma in full control.
However, goals from Manuel Locatelli (70’) and Dejan Kulusevski (72’) saw the lead brutally wiped out, and Mattia de Sciglio’s goal five minutes later proved the winner. Roma had the opportunity to salvage something from the game when Matias de Ligt was sent off in giving away a penalty, gifting the hosts the chance to equalise against ten men on 83 minutes.
Despite scoring a sensational free-kick earlier in the half, Pellegrini saw his penalty saved by Wojciech Szczesny and – in keeping with Roma’s collapse – the forward somehow failed to convert the rebound with the goal gaping. After the match, Mourinho praised the majority of his team’s performance but left scathing analysis of the latter stages.
“We were in total control for 70 minutes,” Mourinho said. “The team played really well and had the mentality of taking control, we came out and started strong. We had this idea of the high press, of controlling the tempo and taking the initiative.
“It was so good for 70 minutes, then there was this psychological collapse. The 3-2 killed us, because Felix had an extraordinary game, which finished with a sprint against Cuadrado. I take him off and his replacement gets it all wrong.
“When we allowed them back in for 3-2, a team with a strong mentality like Juventus, a strong character. The fear set in. A psychological complex. It’s not a problem for me having 3-2, it’s a problem for them. For my team.
“At the end of the day, when you’re in the s**t, you get back on your feet and find your character. But there are people in this locker room who are a bit too nice, a bit too weak.
“I already told the players, if the game had ended at the 70th minute, it would’ve been an extraordinary performance. Unfortunately, it didn’t end then.”
“This thing of playing in the comfort zone, of playing to be 6-7 is too easy for some personalities. We need to get out of this mentality. After Milan I told the guys that it’s them who has to move closer to me, it’s not me who has to become similar to their psychological profile. I don’t want to.”
By Sean Gillen