Jose Mourinho is “convinced” Roma will advance to the Europa Conference League semi-finals against Bodo/Glimt, insisting his side are “the best team” in the tie.
The Giallorossi boss also said he was not interested in discussing the controversy which erupted at the end of the two sides’ first-leg clash, but pointedly highlighted Roma’s “exemplary” conduct when losing to the same opponents last October.
Roma fell to a 2-1 reverse at the home of the Norwegian champions last Thursday, and are winless in their three head-to-head meetings with them this season (one draw, two losses), scoring just four goals and conceding 10.
Controversy erupted after the first-leg clash, with Bodo/Glimt boss Kjetil Knutsen and Roma goalkeeping coach Nuno Santos receiving bans from UEFA after the former accused Santos of assault in the tunnel after the game.
Mourinho, who is looking to deliver the capital club their first major trophy since 2008, said he was convinced Roma would prove they are “the best team” at the Stadio Olimpico, but refuted suggestions that there would be “tension” between the two camps on Thursday.
“I haven’t seen any player feeling the tension, and I didn’t in any of the three games we have already played,” Mourinho said. “The first game [a 6-1 loss last October] was a historic defeat for us, as a club, and as professionals. But our conduct was, in my opinion, exemplary in the way we reacted to losing in the way we lost.
“We showed a spirit of fair play, a dignity and a comportment that was unusual. Usually, people react in negative ways to something like that, but we showed honour, outside of the humiliation of the result itself.
“What happened on Thursday evening was something detached from the contest. The game was normal, then there was an ugly moment, but one that bears no relation to anything else that happened [on the pitch].
“That’s it. Tomorrow we just want to play, and I think that they just want to play. We want to reach the semi-finals and so do they.
“Tomorrow I am expecting a football match where the best team wins, and I am convinced that we are the best team.”
Mourinho was also asked about Bodo/Glimt’s repeated allegations that Santos had provoked the post-match altercation last week, after the Norwegian team saw an appeal against their head coach’s ban rejected by UEFA.
Bodo/Glimt have also accused Roma of “bombarding the media with untruths’ related to the incident, but Mourinho refused to be drawn on such comments.
“I don’t have to think about it,” Mourinho added. “UEFA are the ones who think about it. I don’t decide, UEFA decide.
“I don’t have anything to say about what Bodo/Glimt have had to say. If you only want to ask me about what others have said about different things, then I am not interested in doing that.”
Roma will be looking to build upon a strong home record in European knockout ties as they attempt to reach the final four. The Giallorossi are unbeaten in their last 11 home games played in the knockout stage of European competitions (nine wins, two draws), scoring in each of those games and averaging 2.2 goals per game.