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Europa: We must play to win at Leicester, says Roma coach Mourinho

Roma coach, Jose Mourinho, believes their Europa Conference League semifinal against Leicester City is “50-50”.

Mourinho will face Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers, having worked together in the past with Chelsea.

He said, “We had a lot of fun together, we are friends, even if obviously football takes you in different directions. He’s a fine coach with a bright future ahead of him.

“Leicester dropped down into this tournament from the Europa League, whereas this is our 13th Conference League game. We paid for it in Serie A by dropping points, having played on Thursday and then Sunday. Teams with 30 players all of the same level can rotate and not pay with points, but we don’t have that.

“The advantage Leicester have is they don’t need to worry about their Premier League position, whereas we do if we want to qualify for the Europa League, as we can still finish anywhere from fifth to eighth place in Serie A. It’s a tough moment, but also one with a lot of motivation.

“I have reached many European semi-finals and I say that no matter the names and the potential, it is always 50-50.”

He continued: “Our objective is to play for the win. If we lose, just as we did against Bodo/Glimt in the quarter-final, we have the second leg at home.

“I enjoy the cultural differences in the game and a referee can influence that too. In Italy right now, there are few clubs who can afford the squad of a Premier League side, even if it’s Leicester City rather than Liverpool or Manchester City. At the same time, tactically we can do things that cause problems for sides with a greater economic potential. That’s the beauty of football.”

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