“Chris Smalling made it difficult for me” – Super Eagles star laments Feyenoord’s loss to Mourinho’s Roma

The Dutch side puffed all night in Tirana but was second-best against a physical and efficient AS Roma

Nigeria international forward Cyriel Dessers has opined that AS Roma edged Feyenoord to the Europa Conference League trophy because the Italians were more ruthless in the final.

Coached by serial winner Jose Mourinho, who won the Champions League with FC Porto and Inter Milan and lifted the Europa League with Manchester United, Roma were the favourites to lift their first major European trophy in Tirana on Wednesday.

And the Serie A confirmed their superiority by claiming a narrow victory in a closely-fought encounter thanks to Nicolo Zaniolo’s first-half strike inside the 20,000-capacity Arena Kombetare in Albania.

Although Feyenoord bossed much of the ball possession, the Eredivisie side could not get through a rigid Roma defence.

Competition top scorer Dessers faced the battle of his life against Chris Smalling and co but ultimately failed to find an opening, with the former Man United centre-back named the man of the match.

Disappointed by his team’s loss, Dessers has voiced his displeasure at a perceived physical, rough, and negative football from Roma.

“They are ruthless,” Dessers said after the encounter, as per NU.

“Even if the ball is not close, they come elbows, scratch and pull. Everything is allowed.

“I was always against three defenders and if I won one game, then the next was already there.

“They were also all a lot bigger. Chris Smalling has become the man of the match for a reason. He especially made it very difficult for me today.

Dessers continued: “They get through it once and then it hits the spot right away. The way it happens may hurt extra.

“Perhaps that is the difference between the current Feyenoord and the AS Roma of Jose Mourinho at the moment.”

Despite not scoring in the final, Dessers finished as the highest goalscorer of the maiden edition of the Conference League with ten goals, one more than Roma’s Tammy Abraham.

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