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AS Roma boss Jose Mourinho lauds his players following 1-0 win over Xabi Alonso-led Bayer Leverkusen

AS Roma head coach Jose Mourinho had nothing but praise for his players following their 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League last night.

The Serie A club defeated Die Werkself in the first leg of their semi-final clash.

The Giallorossi held Leverkusen at bay and snatched a win through Edoardo Bove.

The 20-year-old Roma academy product stabbed home the winning goal in the second half after Lukasz Hradecky saved Tammy Abraham’s initial effort.

Leverkusen started brightly, and Rui Patricio had to save a shot from Robert Andrich barely a minute into the game.

Florian Wirtz had a good opportunity to break the deadlock but failed to take it.

Roma slowly worked their way into the game, and Roger Ibanez forced Hradecky to make a superb save.

They took the lead in the second half, but Leverkusen showed the danger they carry.

Mourinho said (via Sky Sport Italia): “It is all credit to the lads. They have this mentality, this desire, this empathy with the fans, this sense of responsibility to give everything and make the supporters happy.

“It was not an easy game today – intellectually it was a very difficult match.

It is tough to play against Bayer Leverkusen, to remain concentrated for 90 minutes, to play to win and at the same time know losing the ball can be devastating on the counter.

“The lads did so well to win this first half of the tie.”

Roma are dealing with injuries to several stars including Stephan El Shaarawy, Diego Llorente and Chris Smalling.

Paulo Dybala and Georginio Wijnaldum came off the bench but are still not fully fit.

However, Mourinho will be happy with the win and confident of progressing to another European final.

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