Jose Mourinho revels in Roma's 'truly special' Europa Conference League win

Nicolo Zaniolo's goal settles final against Feyenoord for Italian club's first European trophy in 60 years

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An emotional Jose Mourinho celebrated what he called a "very special" achievement having become the only second manager to win five major European titles as his Roma side clinched the Europa Conference League on Wednesday.

Mourinho, who had previously won the Champions League, Europa League and the Uefa Cup, completed a unique European trophy haul as Roma beat Feyenoord 1-0 in Tirana to ensure he could add the inaugural Conference League to his collection.

That is five European finals for Porto, Inter Milan, Manchester United and Roma since 2003 that Mourinho has coached in and five times he has taken home the trophy. He matches the achievement of legendary Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni, who won the European Cup, Cup Winners' Cup and Uefa Cup with Juventus, as well as a Uefa Cup in charge of Inter Milan.

"The great thing about my career is that, aside from the Europa League with Manchester United, doing it with Porto, Inter and Roma is very, very, very special," Mourinho said.

"It is one thing to win when everyone expects it, when you made the investments to win, but it's quite another to win when something feels immortal, that feels truly special.

"This remains in the history of Roma, but also mine. I was told only I, Sir Alex [Ferguson] and Giovanni Trapattoni won trophies in three different decades. It makes me feel a little old, but it's nice for my career."

Roma fans go crazy in Rome

It represented a fine end to his first season in the Italian capital for Mourinho, having steered his side to a sixth-placed finish in Serie A this term.

The Portuguese has no plans to seek new challenges, as he is already looking to next season with the club.

"Now I am staying, there are no doubts," Mourinho added. "Even if some rumours emerge, I only want to remain at Roma.

"We must understand what our owners, who are fantastic people, want to do next season, because this is history, but we can build a really strong project with honest professionals.

"Of course I feel like a Romanista, but that might be my way of working. I am a Porto fan, an Inter fan, a Chelsea fan, I am crazy about Real Madrid, I am now a Roma fan, I belong to all those clubs because we had these moments together.

"Now I'm going to go on holiday, sit on the beach and think about it all for a while."

Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo celebrates after scoring. AP Photo

Nicolo Zaniolo's goal earned Roma a first major European title in more than 60 years. The 22-year-old midfielder earned Roma victory with an expertly-taken finish in the 32nd minute, as he became the first Italian to score in a European final since Filippo Inzaghi against Liverpool in the 2007 Champions League final.

Feyenoord, looking to be the first Dutch club to win a European competition in 20 years, since their 2002 Uefa Cup triumph, failed to really test Rui Patricio in the Roma goal in the opening period.

Yet they started the second half brightly, with Roma's Gianluca Mancini diverting an early Feyenoord corner onto his own post.

The Dutch side kept coming and hit the woodwork again as Tyrell Malacia’s superb strike from 25 yards was tipped onto the post by Patricio.

Further chances came and went, but some last-ditch blocks and wasteful finishing ensured Roma's long wait for a European trophy would end in Mourinho's first season in the Italian capital.

"We really wanted to take that cup with us, to thank the supporters and to put Feyenoord back on the map, unfortunately it didn't work out like that," goalkeeper Justin Bijlow said.

"We put the pressure on them and then you saw they had trouble dealing with us. But unfortunately it wasn't good enough. It's especially terrible that we can't take the cup to Rotterdam."

Updated: May 26, 2022, 5:58 AM
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