(Reuters) – AS Roma manager Jose Mourinho was left in tears after guiding his side to the Europa Conference League final on Thursday and said Europe’s third-tier competition was like their Champions League.
A first-half header from Tammy Abraham gave Roma a 1-0 win over Leicester City on the night and a 2-1 victory on aggregate to send them through to the inaugural Europa Conference League final on May 25, where they will face Feyenoord.
“This is a giant club without the trophy room in relation to the social dimension of the club. So, this is not a trophy, it’s only the final but it means a lot for them,” said Mourinho.
“Of course I have had bigger moments than this, but I am not feeling for myself, I am feeling for the people and my players. This for us, is our Champions League.”
Mourinho, who took over at Roma in May last year, was in tears as he embraced his coaching staff after the win.
“I shed a tear because my emotion was for everyone who loves this club,” said Mourinho, who has now reached five European finals with four different clubs, having won all his previous ones with Porto, Inter Milan and Manchester United.
“I’ve had the fortune to play more prestigious finals than this one. But in terms of the way we’ve created a family atmosphere here, it makes me feel special.”
Roma, fifth in Serie A, travel to Fiorentina on Monday.
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)