AS Roma boss Jose Mourinho brushed off persistent speculation around taking a managerial role at Paris Saint-Germain, as his team prepares for the first leg of the Europa League semifinal against Bayer Leverkusen at home on Thursday.
Despite talk of potentially taking over the Ligue 1 club from Christophe Galtier next seaspn, Mourinho reaffirmed his loyalty to Roma, where he is under contract until 2024.
“If they called, they didn’t find me,” Mourinho told Sky Sport Italia on Wednesday ahead of the prematch news conference.
Roma are set to confront a formidable challenge as they go head-to-head against Xabi Alonso’s side on Thursday. Alonso played a pivotal role in Mourinho’s success during their tenure at Real Madrid from 2010 to 2013. Together, they clinched prestigious titles such as LaLiga, Copa del Rey, and the Spanish Super Cup.
During the news conference, Mourinho expressed admiration for the former Spain international, showering him with praise.
“I haven’t seen him for a long time,” he said. “We’ve always had a fantastic rapport, more than between a coach and a player.”
Mourinho said that the German team ranks among Europe’s finest in terms of executing counter attacks.
“They are very dangerous in this moment of the game, they defend, wait for the opponent to lose the ball and then it’s difficult to stop them,” he said. “He uses the style that suits his players more, five or six … of them could run the 100m with Marcel Jacobs at the Olympics.”
Despite Roma reaching the semifinals of a prominent European competition for the third consecutive season, Mourinho dismisses the notion that it puts pressure on the team.
“We have enough experience not to be too excited for being in the semifinals, and not to be too fixated on the fact that it is the first game and that it is played at home,” he said.
“We’ll do everything we can to fully recover them but we must prepare the match regardless of their availability,” he said.
Jose Mourinho laughs off PSG links: ‘They didn’t find me’