Tottenham Sign Bissouma From Brighton

Tottenham Hotspur signed Yves Bissouma from Brighton.

 

 

Tottenham announced the signing on Friday of midfielder Yves Bissouma from Brighton for a reported fee of £25 million ($30 million), giving manager Antonio his third signing of the transfer window.

The highly rated Mali international shone as Brighton achieved their best-ever Premier League finish of ninth last season.

Bissouma has signed a four-year deal and will join new arrivals Ivan Perisic and Fraser Forster at the London club.

“The transfer is a very good one for the club and player,” said Brighton manager Graham Potter.

“Yves has shown his undoubted ability and been an important player for us during his time with us.

“Now he has a new challenge with Tottenham, including the opportunity to play Champions League football, and everyone at the club wishes him well.”

Tottenham Sign Perisic On Free Transfer From Inter Milan

Inter Milan’s Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic celebrates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Inter and Sampdoria on May 22, 2022 at the Giuseppe-Meazza (San Siro) stadium in Milan.
MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

 

 

Tottenham Hotspur have signed Croatia international Ivan Perisic on a free transfer, the Premier League club announced Tuesday.

The 33-year-old will join the north London side when his contract at Inter Milan expires at the end of June after agreeing to a two-year deal.

“We are delighted to announce the transfer of Ivan Perisic,” said a Spurs statement.

“The vastly experienced Croatia international will join the club on 1 July following the expiration of his contract at Internazionale and has agreed on a deal that will run until 2024.”

Perisic worked with Tottenham manager Antonio Conte in Italy, with the duo winning the 2020/21 Serie A title together at Inter.

But he has turned down a new contract to stay at the San Siro in order to move to England.

Perisic has also won league titles in Germany — with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich — while also scoring in a World Cup final for Croatia.

A versatile player, Perisic can be deployed as a left wing-back, winger, second striker or attacking midfielder.

His arrival marks a change from Tottenham’s usual transfer policy of signing younger players with a sell-on value and is a sign of their growing confidence in Conte.

Perisic bid farewell to Inter fans with an Instagram message that acknowledged his time wearing this “glorious jersey” had come to an end.

He added: “It was an unforgettable learning experience for me as a player and for my whole family

“To the team, the staff, to all the employees but most importantly to the fans: you will always have a special place in my heart.”

Tottenham finished fourth in the recently concluded Premier League season to qualify for next term’s elite European Champions League.

Son Heung-Min’s ‘Joyous’ Golden Boot Hailed By South Korea President

Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road Stadium in Norwich, eastern England, on May 22, 2022. (Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP) 

 

 

Son Heung-min has been congratulated by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol for winning the Premier League’s Golden Boot, as his club Tottenham Hotspur announced Tuesday they would play a pre-season friendly against Sevilla in Suwon on July 16.

Son on Sunday became the first Asian footballer to be the English top flight’s leading scorer with 23 goals, with President Yoon calling it a “joyous occasion to be celebrated by the entire Asian football community”.

“I believe this award is the result of your passion after having devoted yourself and worked endlessly for your team all season,” Yoon said in a message to Son, posted on Facebook.

Son’s achievement was “a message of hope” for South Koreans during the Covid-19 pandemic, Yoon said, adding that he was looking forward to watching Son lead South Korea at the World Cup in Qatar in November and December.

Tottenham’s final match of the season against Norwich on Sunday was aired live in South Korea, kicking off  at midnight and ending at 2:00 am Monday.

 

Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean attacker Son Heung-min holds the Premier League Golden Boot trophy upon his arrival at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on May 24, 2022.  (Photo by YONHAP / AFP)

But fans said Son’s 22nd and 23rd league goals of the season in Tottenham’s 5-0 win, which enabled him to share the scoring honours with Liverpool’s Mo Salah, made staying up late worth it.

“I was too happy and excited even when I was lying in bed, so I couldn’t sleep,” one posted online.

“This season’s Son Heung-min uniform will be our family treasure from today,” another added.

Tottenham enjoy a large fan base in South Korea and the club will play two matches in the country on a pre-season tour of Asia in July.

Tottenham will face the K-League All-Stars in Seoul on July 13 and Sevilla FC three days later in Suwon, 45 kilometres south of Seoul.

Salah And Son Heung-Min Share Premier League Golden Boot

A photo combination of Son and Salah holding their gongs.

 

Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min shared the Premier League Golden Boot on Sunday after both forwards scored on the final day of the season.

South Korea’s Son netted twice in Tottenham’s 5-0 win at Norwich to move to 23 goals — one clear of Salah, but the Egypt forward struck late in Liverpool’s 3-1 win at home to Wolves.

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo finished third with 18 goals in his first season back in the Premier League.

Salah’s goal was ultimately in vain as Jurgen Klopp’s team finished one point behind Manchester City, who scored three goals in five minutes to beat Aston Villa 3-2.

Tottenham’s win secured a fourth-place finish, meaning they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

READ ALSOArsenal Miss Out On Champions League For Fifth Season In A Row

Son, 29, said it was “incredible” to have the award.

“I can’t believe it,” he told the BBC. “I got really emotional. I dreamed of it as a child. Literally it’s my in hands. I can’t believe it.

“Until my goal I was really frustrated that I missed big chances. I told the players I missed the easiest chances and scored one of the toughest ones.

“I didn’t give up. I wanted to score today. The team helped me a lot at half-time. They wanted to help me, you could see it today.”

Spurs manager Antonio Conte was delighted to see club and individual ambitions realised with the rout of the Canaries at Carrow Road.

“This was our target,” he told the BBC.

“First to get in the Champions League but then when there was a chance to help Sonny reach the top scorer, we enjoyed it,” the Italian added.

“I have seen his team-mates try to help him. The award is for Son but it’s for the whole team. They helped him reach this big achievement.”

AFP

Arsenal Miss Out On Champions League For Fifth Season In A Row


Arsenal’s Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard (L) celebrates after scoring his team’s fifth goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Everton at the Emirates Stadium in London on May 22, 2022. Daniel LEAL / AFP

 

Arsenal have missed out on a Champions League spot despite mauling Everton on the final day of the Premier League. 

The Gunners defeated Everton 5-1 at the Emirates Stadium but that was not enough to send them to Europe’s elite competition ahead of Tottenham who outclassed relegated Norwich 5-0 on the same day.

Spurs just need a point to finish fourth when and they qualified for the Champions League in grand style

“We know the importance of the game. If someone thinks the situation is easy I am not that person and I don’t transfer these thoughts to my players,” Conte said ahead of the match.

With incoming boss Erik ten Hag watching from the stands, sixth-placed Manchester United lost at Crystal Palace.

READ ALSO: Man City Retain 2021/2022 Premier League After Aston Villa Comeback

But they avoided the ignominy of slipping into the Europa Conference League after were beaten by Brighton.

At the Etihad, Manchester City retained the Premier League title in the most dramatic of fashion as they hauled themselves back from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 with three goals in the final 15 minutes on Sunday.

Ilkay Gundogan came off the bench to score twice with Rodri also on target as Pep Guardiola’s men held off Liverpool’s title charge to win the league by a point.

In scenes remiscent of the first of City’s now six league titles in 11 seasons when Sergio Aguero scored a 93rd minute winner to deny Manchester United the title on goal difference, the champions produced a remarkable comeback at the Etihad.

Goals from Matty Cash and former Liverpool favourite Philippe Coutinho looked set to gift the Reds the title.

Jurgen Klopp’s men did their job by also coming from a goal down to beat Wolves 3-1 at Anfield, but City’s rescue act ensured Liverpool’s bid for an unprecedented quadruple is over.

Gundogan started the comeback as he headed in Raheem Sterling’s cross at the back post.

England Women’s Striker Chioma Ubogagu Gets Nine-Month Doping Ban

A file photo of Chioma Ubogagu. [email protected] ChiAlreadyKnow

 

England women’s forward Chioma Ubogagu has been given a nine-month ban for two anti-doping violations, the Football Association announced Thursday.

The 29-year-old Tottenham Hotspur striker, capped three times, admitted she had broken rules relating to the presence and use of the banned substance canrenone, a masking agent, which were detected in a urine sample taken in October.

An independent regulatory commission that imposed the suspension — which runs to October this year — accepted Ubogagu had committed the violations unintentionally.

READ ALSO[WAFU B Tournament] Nigeria Reaches Final, Qualify For 2023 U20 AFCON

Tottenham said the banned substance was in medication Ubogagu had been prescribed in the United States to treat acne and had not known it was prohibited.

“I am so sorry to my team-mates and staff that I can’t be out on the pitch,” said Ubogagu in a club statement.

“I want to make clear that the medication had no performance-enhancing effects for me, but I still made the mistake of not being as diligent as possible and as a result, I am unable to play the game I love until I serve my suspension.”

Ubogagu said it was her “responsibility” to know about the medication she was taking, adding she now hoped to educate other athletes to avoid similar situations.

Tottenham, who signed former Arsenal and Real Madrid player Ubogagu last year, said the issue had come to light in November.

“Chioma requested a repeat prescription from the club doctor who alerted the relevant bodies, the FA and UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), about the use of a banned substance,” said a Spurs statement.

“The FA accepts that Chioma did not take the medication, spironolactone, with a view to intentionally securing an illegal advantage.”

Tottenham added Chioma had been unavailable for selection since a provisional suspension imposed in January.

AFP

Tottenham Move Temporarily Into Top Four After Burnley Win


Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on May 15, 2022.
Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Harry Kane’s penalty moved Tottenham into the Premier League top four as Antonio Conte’s men held their nerve to beat Burnley 1-0 on Sunday.

Spurs move two points ahead of north London rivals Arsenal, who travel to Newcastle on Monday, in the battle for fourth place.

Tottenham still need a slip up from the Gunners to return to the Champions League next season, but upped the pressure on Mikel Arteta’s men.

Defeat leaves Burnley outside the relegation zone only on goal difference with two games of the season to go.

READ ALSO: Man City Keep Title Fate In Their Hands Despite West Ham Scare

Buoyed by Thursday’s 3-0 win over Arsenal to keep the race for a place in the Champions League alive, Spurs flew out of the traps.

Kane had a goalbound header cleared off the line by Nathan Collins before Nick Pope produced the first of a string of saves by pounced on his England teammate’s header.

Burnley are only still in the fight for their place in the top flight thanks to a run of 10 points from a possible 12 in the first four games after sacking Sean Dyche.

Defeat at home to Aston Villa last weekend ended that unbeaten run, but there was plenty of encouragement for the Clarets they can do enough to survive in the final week of the season.

Hugo Lloris needed to make a fine save to deny Maxwel Cornet giving the visitors the lead on 27 minutes.

However, a brave Burnley performance was undone by a stroke of misfortune deep into first half stoppage time.

Davinson Sanchez’s flick brushed off the outstretched arm of Ashley Barnes.

There was barely an appeal inside the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in real time, but the incident was picked up by VAR and given after a review.

Kane was deadly as usual from the spot as the England captain converted his 21st consecutive successful penalty.

Son Heung-min’s bid to beat Mohamed Salah to the Premier League Golden Boot was frustrated after the break by Pope.

The South Korean remains one behind Salah’s 22 league goals for the season.

Son’s near post striker was brilliantly turned behind by Pope after a flowing Spurs move.

Pope then instinctively threw up an arm to parry Son’s strike from point-blank range.

The Burnley goalkeeper’s heroics could have salvaged his side a point when Barnes struck the post from long range.

However, they left London empty handed and could end the day in the bottom three if Leeds avoid defeat at home to Brighton.

At the top of the table Manchester City can move to the brink of a fourth title in five years if they win at West Ham.

AFP

Spurs Crush 10-Man Arsenal To Keep Top-Four Bid Alive

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (L) vies with Arsenal's Japanese defender Takehiro Tomiyasu (R) during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on May 12, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP
Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (L) vies with Arsenal’s Japanese defender Takehiro Tomiyasu (R) during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on May 12, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Harry Kane scored twice as Tottenham beat 10-man Arsenal 3-0 on Thursday with a north London derby masterclass that kept alive their hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four.

Antonio Conte’s side would have been eliminated from the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League if they had lost to their bitter rivals on Thursday.

But Kane tormented Arsenal once again as the Tottenham striker opened the scoring with a controversial penalty.

Crucially, Arsenal’s Rob Holding was sent off for two bookings in seven minutes.

READ ALSO: FG Withdraws Nigeria From International Basketball Competitions

Kane netted again before the interval and Son Heung-min bagged Tottenham’s third goal in the second half.

Instead of sealing a return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2016-17 season, fourth-placed Arsenal now face a nerve-jangling conclusion to the top-four battle.

Arsenal still hold a slender advantage, but the end of their four-match winning run leaves them just one point ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham, with both sides having two games left.

Conte said several weeks ago that it would be a “miracle” if Tottenham reached the Champions League given their lowly position when he replaced the sacked Nuno Espirito Santo in November.

But their victory in arguably the biggest north London derby since Arsenal won the league at White Hart Lane in 2004 ensured that miracle could still come true.

Conte believes finishing in the top four is “like winning a title in another country, a big achievement” given the depth of talent and wealth at the top of the Premier League.

To decide who takes the lucrative prize, Tottenham host struggling Burnley on Sunday then travel to relegated Norwich, while Mikel Arteta’s men visit Newcastle on Monday and entertain Everton.

Arteta’s bewildered expression throughout Arsenal’s capitulation suggested it is far from certain he will be able to lift his players to finish the job.

Third-placed Chelsea, five points above Tottenham, will likely need a draw from their last two games to be sure of their top-four place given their vastly superior goal difference.

As well as the huge European stakes for both sides, Tottenham also felt lingering resentment about Arsenal’s successful appeal to have this fixture postponed in January due to Covid and injury problems.

Kane stars

The acrimony did not take long to boil over in the deafening atmosphere at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with tackling flying in and Conte booked for protesting vigorously after Ben Davies’s foul on Bukayo Saka.

Amid the maelstrom, it was Tottenham who landed the first blow after 22 minutes.

Cedric Soares collided with Son as they contested Dejan Kulusevski’s cross in the six-yard box and the contact was enough to convince Paul Tierney to award a penalty.

Arsenal surrounded Tierney to complain angrily, but Kane stepped up to send Aaron Ramsdale the wrong way with a nerveless spot-kick.

The wall of sound from four sides of the stadium underlined the significance of Tottenham seizing the initiative.

Arsenal were shell-shocked and the game shifted decisively in Tottenham’s favour in the 33rd minute.

Eric Dier’s long pass targeted Son and Holding crudely blocked his path with his shoulder, a needless offence that prompted Tierney to send off the defender for his second booking.

Scenting blood, Tottenham doubled their lead four minutes after Holding’s premature exit.

Rodrigo Bentancur flicked on a corner and Kane stooped to head home from virtually on the line as Conte celebrated with a jig of delight.

Kane, the top scorer in north London derby history in all competitions, now has 13 goals in 17 meetings with Arsenal, who must rue the day they rejected him as a eight-year-old.

The night got even better for Conte in the 47th minute as Kane rolled Gabriel and the ball broke for Son to clip a deft finish into the corner.

Ramsdale made fine saves from Emerson Royal and Kane to stop Arsenal being completely humiliated, but the damage had already been done.

AFP

Champions League: Arteta Ready For ‘Defining’ Top Four Clash With Spurs

File photo: Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta speaks to the media after the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on May 2, 2021.
LEE SMITH / POOL / AFP

 

Mikel Arteta has labelled Arsenal’s north London derby against Tottenham on Thursday as the “defining moment” of their season as they chase a return to the Champions League.

Eddie Nketiah’s double sealed a 2-1 victory over struggling Leeds on Sunday to leave Arsenal on the brink of ending their five-year exile from top-tier European football.

Fourth placed Arsenal sit four points clear of fifth placed Tottenham with three games left for both teams.

A victory in the crunch clash at Tottenham would be enough to book a Champions League berth for the first time since 2017 and Gunners boss Arteta is relishing the opportunity.

“We are going to go for that match with the same enthusiasm that we always do but knowing that this can be a defining moment,” Arteta said.

“It can be another layer of motivation for us to really go for it. I can’t wait for the game.

“We have earned the right to play that game in that context. We started the season with nine or 10 players out and playing the best two teams in Europe.”

While Arsenal are looking optimistically towards a memorable end to the season, third bottom Leeds have slumped into the relegation zone after a second successive defeat.

Leeds, below fourth bottom Burnley on goal difference, host Chelsea on Wednesday before ending the season with games against Brighton and Brentford.

Jesse Marsch insisted his team will do everything in their power to avoid slipping back into the Championship after two seasons in the top tier.

“I think we had a really bad start and dug a hole for ourselves which we didn’t need to,” he said.

“Obviously we are in a difficult situation. We have to regroup and figure out what we can do.

“Our backs are against the wall. We are in the relegation zone but we have to fight for our lives.”

Spurs Sharpshooters Pose Huge Test For Liverpool, Says Klopp

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (C) and Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (R) celebrate their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on February 19, 2022. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP
Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (C) and Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (R) celebrate their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on February 19, 2022. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool that Tottenham forwards Harry Kane and Son Heung-min will pose a “massive” challenge for his quadruple-chasing team.

Klopp’s side, one point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with four games left, can go top of the table if they beat Tottenham at Anfield on Saturday, with City facing Newcastle 24 hours later.

But fifth-placed Spurs are battling to finish in the top four and Reds boss Klopp is concerned about the potential damage that Kane and Son — with 43 goals between them in all competitions this season — could do.

“Tottenham have massive quality,” he said Friday. “Especially away from home, they are not too bothered about having the ball all the time, stuff like this. They defend compact and then obviously they have some of the best counter-attacking players in the world.

“Up front they have speed like crazy — Harry Kane, what a player, and obviously fits in that idea extremely well. There’s a blind understanding between them (Kane and Son) so I’d say it’s probably the biggest challenge for protection we face for a long time.”

READ ALSO: Mbappe’s Mother Denies He Has Agreed Deal To Stay At PSG

Liverpool are on a high after sealing their place in the Champions League final against Real Madrid by beating Villarreal this week.

In contrast, City were left reeling by Real’s astonishing escape act in the other semi-final, eventually losing 6-5 on aggregate.

But Klopp is wary about writing off City too soon, expecting them to respond this weekend.

“City are good,” he said. “It was a massive blow for them, that was really harsh. I’ve had nights like that. It’s not cool, the next morning, not cool, but then there’s a moment you have to focus. They will be ready for Newcastle on Sunday.”

With the League Cup already in the trophy cabinet and an FA Cup final to come against Chelsea next weekend, Liverpool are in contention to become the first club to win all four major trophies in a single season.

Yet Klopp does not believe Liverpool will be favourites when they face 13-time European champions Real on May 28 in a repeat of the 2018 final won by the Spaniards.

“They are now the massive favourites with all the experience they have and all these kind of things,” said Klopp. “We are more experienced than we were, probably, but it’s obviously not to compare.

“They got through against PSG (Paris Saint-Germain), Chelsea and City. If you knock out these three guys, then you definitely deserve to be in the final.”

AFP

Conte Urges Spurs To Be ‘Brave’ Against Fearsome Liverpool

In this file photo, Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 19, 2022.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Antonio Conte has urged Tottenham to be “brave” when they face quadruple-chasing Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday in a match that could prove pivotal for both teams.

Spurs are two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal but Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool similarly need the win if they are to catch Manchester City, who are one point clear at the top of the table.

The Reds have only dropped two points in the Premier League since January 2 — a draw against Pep Guardiola’s City — and this week booked their place in the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Klopp’s men already have the League Cup in the trophy cabinet and face Chelsea in the FA Cup final later this month as they hunt an unprecedented clean sweep of silverware.

READ ALSO: Real Madrid And Liverpool Set For Paris Rematch

“When you arrive at this point of the season and you are in a race for every target, it gives you a big, big push to do something incredible,” Spurs boss Conte said on Thursday.

“I think Jurgen Klopp is doing a fantastic job with his team. It is not easy, especially for an English team to arrive at the end of the season to stay in the race for all the competitions that you compete (in).

“It is incredible. You can see Liverpool’s players run a lot, they have not had many injuries. Their enthusiasm is not 100 percent, it is 200 percent. You don’t feel the fatigue when you reach this point.”

The Italian, desperate to secure Champions League football next season, said he wanted his side to play their own game at Anfield after drawing 2-2 against Liverpool at home earlier in the season.

Spurs have also beaten Premier League leaders City home and away during the current campaign.

“I said this to my players, we need to play a good game and be brave when we have the ball, don’t be scared for all the pressure, and to find the solution,” said Conte.

“We have improved a lot. We are in this race for a place in the Champions League and for this reason we need to get points in every game. Every game is a big chance for us to improve the table. In this game we have to try and beat Liverpool.”

Conte also said at his pre-match press conference that loan star Dejan Kulusevski was “100 percent” a Tottenham player.

The Swede, who has impressed since joining from Juventus in the January transfer window, is on an 18-month loan but Spurs have the option to buy, which would turn into an obligation should certain on-field criteria be met.

Conte has no concerns about Kulusevski’s future, saying: “He’s a Tottenham player, 100 percent in every aspect. Not officially but he’s 100 percent a Tottenham player.”

AFP

Mourinho Rebuilding Reputation As Revitalised Roma Eye European Glory

In this file photo taken on March 4, 2021, Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho looks on during the English Premier League football match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage in London. NEIL HALL / POOL / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho returns to England on Thursday on a wave of enthusiasm as upbeat Roma prepare for their third European semi-final in five seasons with fans firmly behind their charismatic manager.

Mourinho’s spell at Tottenham, the first since 2002 where he left a club without winning a trophy, left the man formerly known as The Special One’s stock at an all-time low.

A crop of attack-minded coaches had left Mourinho behind as he crept towards his 60s, but he is rebuilding his reputation in the country where his star has never waned thanks to the historic treble he won for Inter Milan nearly 12 years ago.

Defeat on Saturday at Italian champions Inter ended a 12-match unbeaten run in Serie A and fifth-placed Roma’s outside hopes of reaching the Champions League.

They were outclassed at the San Siro by a superior team who are heavily fancied to retain their league title but the 3-1 loss failed to end the positive vibes in Rome ahead of Thursday’s trip to Leicester for the first leg of their European Conference League semi.

Fans have been packing the Stadio Olimpico for recent matches with more than 65,000 attending wins over Salernitana and Bodo/Glimt and 1,600 will be in fine voice at the King Power Stadium hoping that their team end an England hoodoo.

Roma have won just one of their 22 matches played in England, at Anfield way back in 2001 with Fabio Cappello at the helm for a 2-1 aggregate UEFA Cup defeat to Liverpool, and have taken some heavy beatings from Premier League sides down the years.

Last season’s Europa League first-leg 6-2 hammering at Manchester United cost Roma their first continental final since 1984 when they were beaten by Liverpool on penalties at their own ground.

Under Mourinho, Roma look more solid than they did under predecessor Paulo Fonseca and he has managed to create a cohesion between the team and a notoriously volatile fan base which last saw their team win a trophy in 2008.

Winning Mentality

In this file photo, Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho gestures on the touchline as Tottenham Hotspur’s Welsh striker Gareth Bale (L) leaves the game, substituted during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Tottenham Hotspur at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on January 31, 2021.
ANDREW BOYERS / POOL / AFP

 

“He’s instilled in everyone the idea of never giving up, staying on it, and coming together to get results,” starlet Nicolo Zaniolo said in an interview with UEFA.

“We have a coach who knows what it takes to win, I think we’ve got a chance.”

Roma supporters have continually backed their coach even in the face of some deeply poor performances and at time embarrassing results — not even a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Bodo in the Conference League groups stage led to vociferous training ground protests which have been inflicted on previous coaches.

Considered yesterday’s man in England, Mourinho’s name still carries immense weight in Italy and fans have been prepared to stick by him in the hope that he weaves the same magic which denied them the Serie A crown in 2010.

Back then Mourinho was public enemy number one in the ‘Giallorosso’ half of the Italian capital as his Inter team pipped Roma to the league on the final day of the season, a triumph that came after Lazio fans had hailed him a “true man in a fake football” in a match against Inter they had demanded their own team lose.

Against type, the 59-year-old has even created a team which plays in a more contemporary style, pressing its opposition and at times putting together some sparkling passing manoeuvres.

Stephan El Shaarawy’s recent equaliser at then-title chasers Napoli was the latest example of rapid ball movement and forward-looking play which has helped Tammy Abraham net 24 times in all competitions in his first season in Italy.

The return from injury of Zaniolo, whose hat-trick in the previous round eased Roma’s passage into the last four, will also help Mourinho in his bid to make history.

AFP