Mourinho praises Roma's fighting spirit after matching Allegri's record home run

By Sports Desk September 23, 2021

Jose Mourinho praised his Roma players for holding on with 10 men to claim a 1-0 win against Udinese that saw the Portuguese equal Massimiliano Allegri's record unbeaten home run in Serie A.

Tammy Abraham scored what proved to be the only goal of the game in Thursday's clash at Stadio Olimpico with a flicked finish nine minutes before half-time.

Roma struggled in the second half as they saw less of the ball than Udinese (47.4 per cent) and were out-shot seven to two, with Rui Patricio forced into a couple of saves.

The Giallorossi had to play the final stages a man light after Lorenzo Pellegrini was issued a second yellow card for catching Lazar Samardzic with his elbow, but they saw out their fourth victory in five league games this term.

That includes three successive wins at Stadio Olimpico under Mourinho, who is now 41 without defeat on home soil in the Italian top flight going back to his hugely successful tenure at Inter.

He is one short of taking the outright record in the three-points-per-win era (since 1994-95), with Allegri's previous benchmark set between September 2015 and September 2017 during his first spell in charge of Juventus.

Mourinho was pleased to pick up all three points against Udinese and move up to fourth in the standings, but he acknowledged his side dropped off in the second half of the contest.

"We played well for about 35 minutes," he said at his post-match news conference. "We had total control of the game, 1-0 is little for what we did. In the second half we struggled a bit more, and they reacted.

"We had to suffer a bit. But we did so as a team. We played about six or seven minutes with a man less and fought hard for the three points."

 

Pellegrini's contentious dismissal means that he is set to miss Sunday's Derby della Capitale showdown with bitter rivals Lazio, but Mourinho suggested he intends to appeal against the decision.

"It was ridiculous. We had an educational meeting with the referee chiefs and the rules were explained for two hours," Mourinho said. "Then we get to the game and see a red like this.

"I can't say anything except that it was ridiculous. Football is and always will be football. You cannot change it into a non-contact sport."

Mourinho added to DAZN: "I don't know the legal mechanisms in Italian football, but if we can appeal, then we must try. I have many doubts that anyone could say that was a deserved second yellow card. 

"If there's a way of appealing this card, then we must do that and allow him to play on Sunday."

Roma have now scored 22 goals in all competitions this season, a tally that is bettered by only Bayern Munich (38), Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund (both 23) among clubs in Europe's top five leagues.

Abraham has been responsible for three of those and, with his strike against Udinese, became the first English striker to score a home goal in Serie A since Jay Bothroyd against Ancona with Perugia back in May 2004.

The recent signing from Chelsea has made a massive impact since joining, having also chipped in with a couple of assists, and he is grateful to have been made to feel so welcome in his new surroundings.

"I knew there was a lot of pressure with me coming in, but I love the fans, the staff, they make me feel like family from the first day and I need to repay them," he told DAZN.

"I came here to win, I love to win, the boys look to me, I have to give them confidence, and hopefully we'll continue getting results."

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