Jose Mourinho blasts the drop from Champions League into Europa League

Jose Mourinho blasts UEFA, saying the Europa League would be ‘meaningless’ if it was won by a team that started in the Champions League – with HALF of Roma’s possible quarter-final opponents dropping down

  • Jose Mourinho is upset Champions League teams could win something else 
  • Mourinho’s Roma side are in the Europa League quarter-final draw on Friday 
  • But half their potential opponents started in the Champions League group stage

Jose Mourinho has hit out at UEFA’s policy of moving teams to a lesser competition if they are eliminated early from another.

Following Roma’s scoreless draw at Real Sociedad on Thursday, Mourinho’s side are in the hat for Friday’s quarter-final draw of the Europa League. 

Mourinho seemed to suggest that he did not mind who their opponents would be, despite possible match-ups against his former side Manchester United, or Portuguese compatriots Sporting Lisbon. 

Instead, he used the post-match question to raise grievance with the way that teams who finish third in the Champions League group stage are moved to the Europa League – and poke fun at Lazio’s elimination from the third-tier Europa Conference League. 

Another Italian side, Juventus, are among those teams who initially began the 2022-23 season in the Champions League, and could potentially face Roma in the next round in April.

Jose Mourinho has criticised the way teams can move from one UEFA competition into another

Juventus remain in the Europa League after exiting the Champions League at the group stage

Speaking on Thursday night, Mourinho told Sky Sport Italia: ‘There are teams there who in my view should not be there. If they are eliminated from a competition, they should go home!

‘So if the Europa League is won by a side that went out of the Champions League, then it will be meaningless to me.’

A similar process allows sides who do not progress from the second-tier tournament into the latter stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League. 

Fellow Serie A side Lazio were initially in the Europa League, before being placed in the Europa Conference League. They were then eliminated altogether on Thursday night after two defeats to Dutch side AZ Alkmaar. 

Mourinho’s Roma side will know their quarter-final foes on Friday after beating Real Sociedad

Mourinho added: ‘The Europa League ought to be for the teams who went through the whole thing. I mean, Lazio aren’t going into a third tournament now, are they? That’s how it should be.’

Half of Roma’s possible opponents in the last eight came from the Champions League group stages. Juventus, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Sporting Lisbon are all in with a shot at winning the Europa League. 

Roma will know their opponents in the next stage of European competition after the draw at lunchtime on Friday. 

They now return to domestic duty where they will take on third-placed Lazio in Serie A on Sunday, ahead of the international break. Mourinho’s Roma currently sit fifth.  

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