Rome (AFP) – Tammy Abraham said to himself when he joined AS Roma from Chelsea last summer he would give his “blood, sweat and tears for this club”. In keeping his promise he could be rewarded with European silverware next week.
The 24-year-old England international striker’s nine goals have been pivotal in Roma’s passage to next Wednesday’s inaugural European Conference League final against Dutch side Feyenoord in Tirana.
With 25 in all competitions he has more than justified Roma coach Jose Mourinho’s decision to convince the board to shell out 40 million euros ($42 million) — not including bonuses — for him.
It brought to an end a disappointing final few months for the homegrown Chelsea player who fell out of favour with manager Thomas Tuchel when the German replaced Frank Lampard.
Abraham failed to make either the FA Cup final or Champions League final matchday squads under Tuchel. The German even selected two substitute goalkeepers for the European showpiece.
However, Abraham has put those setbacks firmly behind him and from the first day in Italy his attitude was one of positivity.
“For me since day one, as soon as I touched down in Rome, it made me feel like one of their own straight away,” he told AFP and another international press agency in an interview conducted at Roma’s training centre.
“It was the love, the passion, the way they worked with me.
“I told myself, ‘I’ll give my blood, sweat, tears for this club,’ and it’s been an amazing year.”
Abraham’s impressive performances and the way he has adapted to a different lifestyle in a country where English players have not always flourished could well see him add to the 10 international caps he has accrued.
However, for the moment he is focused on bringing home Roma’s first silverware since the Italian Cup in 2008 and first European trophy since the old Fairs Cup — the predecessor to the UEFA/Europa League — back in 1961.
– ‘Club had ambitions’ –
The Europa Conference may be in its first year and some may sniff at it being the poor man of the three European club competitions but Abraham said that mattered little to him.
“For me it’s not a little cup,” he said.
“I believe every final is a final — no matter what competition it is.
“You get to the final, you want to win the final.
“It’s a trophy and these are the moments you look back on in your career, saying you want to win trophies.
“For me this is an opportunity and for my teammates and for Roma fans this is an opportunity to lift a European title.”
Mourinho, like Abraham, took the Roma posting to try and revive a career which had rather lost its lustre with a sour end to his spell at Manchester United and a disappointing time at Tottenham Hotspur.
“For me, he’s been one of the best coaches in the world for a long time,” said Abraham.
“He knows his stuff about football.
“When I spoke to him on the phone he had ambitions, the club had ambitions and a mindset where they want to get to.
“For him to take a club to a final, which they haven’t been in many years, you can only see how well he’s doing and how well we’re doing.”
Ahead of the final in Albania Abraham wants to round off the Serie A season by winning Roma’s final match on Friday away at mid-table Torino to secure a place in the Europa League next term.
Fiorentina and Atalanta, who are both at home to Juventus and Empoli respectively, are a point adrift of them in sixth spot going into the weekend.
Abraham says victory both on Sunday and in the Conference League final would be due reward for Mourinho and for a “great” bunch of team-mates.
“We have a good mix here,” said Abraham.
“We have Italian players who have played here their whole lives. We have players who’ve played in England as well.
“This is a great bunch of lads who have come together.
“We need to make the last two games a very special moment to top everything off.”
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