The Portuguese great has guided Roma to a first European final in 31 years
Jose Mourinho could not hold back his tears after his Roma team edged past Leicester City to book a spot in the UEFA Europa Conference League final.
The Portuguese managerial icon was emotional on the touchline at the whistle final at a raucous Stadio Olimpico as an early goal from Tammy Abraham gave the hosts a 1-0 victory on Thursday night and a 2-1 aggregate win.
For the Romans, their meeting with Dutch rivals Feyenoord in Tirana, Albania, on May 25 will be a first European final since 1991.
Mourinho, 59, becomes the first coach to lead four different teams to European finals, having tasted UEFA Cup and Champions League glory with Porto, winning the Champions League at Inter Milan, and guiding Manchester United to the Europa League title.
Mourinho now has a chance to become the first manager to win the Europa Conference League, the continent’s third-tier club tournament which is in its maiden season.
José Mourinho in tears after reaching the Conference final. Might not be the biggest final in his career, but man does this show how much he loves the game. Imagine not loving this man. pic.twitter.com/ZNXoAGqzOq
— Xav Salazar (@XavsFutbol) May 5, 2022
“Why did I shed a tear? Because I feel what they all feel,” Mourinho said of the Roma faithful, around 64,000 of whom were packed into the Stadio Olimpico.
“It’s a giant club without a trophy room for the social importance of this club.
“I know what it means to these people and my emotion was for them. I’ve been lucky enough to be in more prestigious finals but this made me feel very special,” added Mourinho, who is in his first season as manager at the club.
“We have a sense of family. With age you become less selfish and more of a father or even a grandfather to some of them, I’m very happy for all of them.
“Rome is a red and yellow city, we’ll see the joy over the coming days. I’ve made a small contribution to that.”
English forward Abraham, signed from Chelsea in the summer, was the matchwinner for Roma as he continued his impressive first campaign in the Italian capital with a 25th goal of the season in all competitions.
His towering header from an 11th-minute corner was enough to settle a tight tie, after the two teams had headed to Rome on the back of a 1-1 draw at Leicester’s King Power Stadium last week.
Mourinho also took the time to salute fellow managerial great Carlo Ancelotti after the Italian guided Real Madrid to the Champions League final 24 hours earlier with an unlikely win against Manchester City.
“If you allow me a message for a coach who is my friend, the great Carletto, let’s both go and win the finals!” Mourinho told Sky Sport Italia.
Roma will meet Feyenoord in the final after they held Marseille to a 0-0 at a febrile Stade Velodrome on Thursday night, meaning the Dutchmen progressed 3-2 on aggregate.
Roma are targeting a first title since they claimed the Coppa Italia in 2008.
They have yet to win a major European crown, and were beaten by Liverpool on penalties in the final of the European Cup in 1984 at their home Stadio Olimpico. They also lost the UEFA Cup final to Italian rivals Inter Milan back in 1991.
Feyenoord won the European Cup in 1970 and the UEFA Cup in 1974 and 2002. If they win the UEFA Europa Conference League, they will be the first and only side to land all three of the current major UEFA men’s club trophies.