Forward Paulo Dybala could miss AS Roma's Europa League final against six-time champions Sevilla, manager José Mourinho said on Thursday.
The 29-year-old Argentine, who has scored 16 goals and has eight assists across all competitions this season, is yet to recover full fitness after picking up an ankle injury at the end of last month.
"I don't think he can play. Honestly, I hope he can make it for the bench. It's the last game of the season even if after that we have Spezia," Mourinho told reporters ahead of next Wednesday's final in Budapest. "But for Paulo, it would be the last game. I'd be happy if Paulo could go on the bench and play 15 or 20 minutes. Dybala is still with the doctors."
Roma will travel to 11th-placed Fiorentina on Saturday before taking on the Spanish side in the Europa League final. The Portuguese coach said midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini would return for the final after missing two games with an injury, but he is out for the Fiorentina clash.
Mourinho underlined the importance of enjoying the final amid reports that he could leave the Italian side, adding that he "will forever be tied to Roma," but acknowledged the feelings are not the same when it comes to his former club Tottenham Hotspur.
The former Porto, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United boss, who led Roma to their first European title by winning the Conference League last season, said he feels no connection with Spurs. Mourinho was sacked by Spurs in April 2021 after 17 months in charge and six days before the League Cup final — which they lost under interim manager Ryan Mason.
"I hope the Tottenham fans don't get me wrong but the only club in my career where I don't have still a deep feeling for is Tottenham," Mourinho said. "Probably because the stadium was empty, COVID time. Probably because Mr Levy (Spurs chairman Daniel Levy) didn't let me win a final and win a trophy. But it's the only one, so after that — Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United — all the clubs I feel a connection. Maybe people (will say) you cannot love every club — yes, I love every club!"
"The only club in my career where I don't have still a deep feeling with is Tottenham"Jose Mourinho explains his feelings for his former club Tottenham pic.twitter.com/WWIt0I4vaV
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 25, 2023
Mourinho's comments come after Feyenoord manager Arne Slot ended speculation over a possible move to the Premier League club, saying he was in discussions with the Dutch champions over a contract extension.
(Reporting by Pearl Josephine Nazare in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)