Jose Mourinho marked his 1000th game in management with a 2-1 win for Roma against Sassuolo after a dramatic return to action.
Bryan Cristante gave Roma the lead in the first half, before they were pegged back after the break. Then in a mesmerising finale, Stephan El Shaarawy put Roma back in front before Sassuolo had another equaliser chalked off.
The win puts Roma top of the Serie A table after three games – the first time they have occupied that spot in five years.
Here’s how Mourinho reacted.
On what it meant to win game 1000
“During the week I was lying to people, telling everyone this wasn’t a special game – perhaps I was trying to convince myself as well. But actually it was – this game had a really special meaning for me. And I am sure I will remember it for the rest of my life, because my 1000th game as a coach was this one.”
On the final score
“Today it could have finished 6-6 or 7-7, they could have won 2-1, whatever. In the final few minutes Rui Patricio made two or three incredible saves and we missed two or three chances when the goal was gaping. It was an incredible game for the neutral, an absolutely extraordinary match, with so many emotions to it.”
On his celebration after El Shaarawy’s goal
“Today I wasn’t 58 years old, but 10 or 12 or 14, when you start dreaming about a career in football. Running like I did [down the sideline], I was running like a child. And I apologised to [Sassuolo coach Alessio] Dionisi for that. I congratulated him and his players: they played brilliantly. Tonight we won, but if they had won I would not have been able to have any complaints.”
On his sympathy for Sassuolo
“We cannot ignore Dionisi and how he must feel. He’s a great coach, Sassuolo have a real identity about them – one that comes from De Zerbi, but he has applied his own elements to that. They are a great squad; I realised that as soon as I started studying them.”
On winning the first five games of his reign at a club for the first time ever
“I didn’t know that. It’s the same as the milestone of 1000 games – I only realised when I was eight or seven short. They are not numbers I’m particularly interested in. Obviously I’m happy with the three points, and the great spirit we showed.”