Soccer-I wanted to remember 1000th game forever, says jubilant Mourinho

Soccer Football - Serie A - Salernitana v AS Roma - Stadio Arechi, Salerno, Italy - August 29, 2021 AS Roma coach Jose Mourinho reacts REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

ROME (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho says he was lying to himself by attempting to play down the significance of his 1000th game in management after he oversaw a thrilling last-gasp win for AS Roma over Sassuolo on Sunday.

Stephan El Shaarawy’s stoppage-time winner sealed a 2-1 victory for the capital club in a game that saw both sides hit the post, both goalkeepers produce top saves and Sassuolo have two goals disallowed for offside.

It was a memorable way for the Portuguese to reach a landmark that he previously downplayed by saying “it is always in my nature to be looking forward to the next match instead of dwelling on previous matches”, but he changed his tune at fulltime.

“During the week I was lying, even to myself, by saying that this was not a special match. I was trying to convince myself of that,” Mourinho told DAZN.

“It was a special match, with a special number for me; it was my 1000th game on the bench. I wanted to remember it for the rest of my life. I did not want to lose.”

Mourinho joined Roma in May, the 10th club of a 21-year management career that has seen him win trophies in four countries and lead major European clubs like Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Mourinho sprinted down the touchline to celebrate under the stands with his players when the winning goal went in to seal a result that sent Roma top of the Serie A table.

“The game could have ended 6-6 or 7-7, they could have won 2-1 like we did. Rui Patricio made two or three incredible saves, we missed two chances in front of an empty goal. For a neutral it was an extraordinary match,” he said.

“Today I did not feel 58 years old, I felt like I was 10, 12 or 14, my run was like a child. I apologised to (Sassuolo coach Alessio) Dionisi, they played a fantastic match and if they had won there would be no argument, they played well.”

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Davis)

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