Roma beat Lecce 2-1 in Mourinho’s return to the bench


“We didn’t play a good game, but we won” – Dybala and Smalling continue to score as Mourinho returns to the Roma bench.

Roma took just six minutes to score the opening goal when Chris Smalling rose higher to head in Lorenzo Pellegrini’s cross.

Lecce were reduced to 10 men when Morten Hjulmand received a straight red card.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Lecce found the equalizer in the 39th minute when Gabriel Strefezza converted a ball towards him from former Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti as both teams reached the half-time break.

Roma received a penalty from Paulo Dybala five minutes after the restart.

From there, Roma exhibited the characteristics of a team led by José Mourinho holding on to their lead to take all three points.

Speaking after the match, Mourinho explained that his side were unable to take advantage of Lecce being a goal down due to exhaustion from playing midweek in the Europa League.

He said: “I don’t remember that many 11v10 games in my career and I was hoping to finish the match soon. Physical fatigue yes and also a little mental. Thursday-Sunday is tough, when I see Atalanta-Udinese it’s clear that they don’t play during the week.

“Today we didn’t play a good game but we won, with Atalanta we did well but we lost. Fatigue is important, but we have to manage it better.”

Defender Smalling also reiterated the need for Roma to keep working harder despite the win.

He added: “We are happy for the victory, we can play better, but the three points were too important today.

“We have created many chances but the goals will come. We all have to improve and work.”

AS Roma return to action in the Europa League against Real Betis on Thursday, October 13, 2022.


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