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Jose Mourinho not focused on his legacy after leading AS Roma to Europa League final

An emotional Jose Mourinho celebrates after his Roma team clinched their spot in the Europa League final. PHOTO: REUTERS

LEVERKUSEN – Jose Mourinho said he was not fixated on becoming a legend at the club after leading Roma to a second straight European final with a 1-0 aggregate Europa League semi-final win over Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday.

The 60-year-old, who won the second-tier European club competition in 2017 with Manchester United, led Roma to the Europa Conference League title last season.

“My concern isn’t marking my place in the Roma history books,” Mourinho said following Thursday’s 0-0 second-leg draw.

“It’s helping these kids (players) to grow, to achieve important things.

“It’s also helping the Roma fans who have given me so much since the first day. It’s an immense joy to get to another final.

“The boys give everything, this game is the result of our work, experience, tactical wisdom and knowing how to stay in matches. It’s an incredible team.”

The Portuguese had expressed his gratitude to the Roma fans for their exceptional support throughout the whole Europa League campaign, while asking for their continued backing as the team prepare to return to Serie A action at home to Salernitana on Monday.

Roma are sixth in on 59 points, six off Lazio in the last Champions League spot.

While results have not been the best domestically, captain Lorenzo Pellegrini said all the credit for the team’s success in Europe should still be directed towards Mourinho.

“He’s different, he makes you realise the importance of the match. We came here and everyone knew what they had to do,” the midfielder said.

“We study, we organise ourselves, we watch videos. Especially in Europe, you can see what the coach brings us. Mourinho is the creator of this personality of ours.”

Roma will take on Sevilla – who claimed a 2-1 victory over Juventus, sealing a 3-2 aggregate triumph – in the Europa League final in Budapest on May 31.

David Moyes, another former United manager, was also thrilled to reach the first European final of his 25-year managerial career after guiding West Ham United to the Europa Conference League title decider with a 3-1 aggregate win at AZ Alkmaar.

The Hammers have not reached a European final since the 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup.

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The June 7 clash against Fiorentina in Prague will give the London side a chance to win their first major trophy since the FA Cup 43 years ago.

Reaching a European final is the bright spot of a poor season for West Ham.

Moyes’ future had looked uncertain at one point as they plunged into the relegation zone earlier this season, though they have since climbed to the brink of safety.

“We’ve all but stayed up and we’re also in a final with a chance of winning a trophy, so there are a lot of positives that have come from it,” Moyes said after Pablo Fornals’ goal clinched a 1-0 win in the second leg.

“To actually get to a final is something which doesn’t happen in many managers’ lifetimes. I’m thrilled that I’ve had one or two, this is my first European one and it’s something I’m really pleased with.”

The victory was, however, marred as family and friends of his players were attacked by AZ supporters while celebrating in the stands at the final whistle, Dutch media reported.

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The home fans broke through a fence and attacked the West Ham contingent seated in a reserved section at the AZ Stadium.

A brawl ensued in which West Ham players, including captain Declan Rice, attempted to intervene.

Police and stewards were quickly on the scene to prevent further confrontation and calm was restored 10 minutes later.

AZ coach Pascal Jansen and some players have since condemned the actions of their fans. REUTERS, AFP