Published on: 23 August 2022

Read what coach Jose Mourinho had to say after Roma's 1-0 win over Cremonese on Monday night.

Chris Smalling got the only goal of the game at the Stadio Olimpico, as the Giallorossi made it two wins from two to start the 2022-23 Serie A season...

You played against a really organised side tonight who made it difficult for you. Are you pleased – maybe not with the scoreline, but at least with the performance?

"I’d start off where you did – saying well done to Cremonese. In the first 20 or 25 minutes, clearly we had the chances not just to score, but to kill off the game there and then. But we didn’t do that, and then we found ourselves up against a real side, who have good players and clearly a good coach too. They were well organised, with a clear style of play and philosophy. For us it was not an easy game.

“I will congratulate the referee as well, because it was a tough game with a really high rhythm throughout. We did enough to win it in the first half. But when you don’t score, especially coming off the back of two emotional days, because even today we were still sad about what happened [to Georgino Wijnaldum], and then you lose an important player like Zaniolo as well … it’s tough. When you don’t score, I’m not saying you worry about not winning but at least the pressure begins to rise.

“In the end, in the final 10 or 15 minutes they were really pushing forward, with substitutions and the attackers looking to go direct … it was a proper match right until the end, but in a league like this the three points are always the most important thing.”

How do you work on finishing off games like this sooner?

“In a lot of ways! We could have done so in the first 20 minutes, but [Cremonese goalkeeper] Radu made some great saves – while we made some mistakes too. And when energy levels are high and the pitch is good – well, tonight the pitch was good for about 20 minutes, before it became a potato field – suddenly it can all become a bit difficult.

“We had to change Zaniolo for El Shaarawy earlier than we wanted, usually we’d wait to inject that energy and intensity. We finished the game with Lorenzo, Stephan, Paulo and Tammy all struggling a little bit for energy. But that’s fine, the team still defended well and stayed focus – which are good qualities to have. We have won two games with goals from defensive players. So if you are asking me if I am worried about that then the answer is no – because Tammy, Paulo and eventually Nicolo will be scoring soon enough.”

Are you worried about the injury to Zaniolo?

“I am worried, but that is life. Crying about it does not help. Obviously, you have ideas and plans in place for how you want to play – and then you immediately find yourself in a situation where we are a few players down. But that’s football, it can happen, and we need to look forward.”

Are you still expecting another reinforcement – maybe one in midfield now as well?

“Right now, everyone wants the same thing. Which is to make the right decisions for the club. These decisions are down to the ownership and the General Manager. They know before this exactly what I would have liked – and now we have these new difficulties after the injuries to Zaniolo and Wijnaldum. But we are all united and together we will try to find the best possible solution.”

(Photo LaPresse)