Carles Pérez (Granollers, 1998) left Barcelona two seasons ago to start a new life in Rome. In a difficult season in which he has not had many minutes with Mourinho, the Spanish winger is confident of taking advantage of his opportunities and being important in the final stretch of the season. This was demonstrated last weekend, in which he led the Giallorosi to victory against Salernitana.

After a difficult season for you, it seems that things are beginning to change.

It’s true that it’s been a difficult season due to the lack of minutes, but as I said after the game against Salernitana, we have to take advantage of the moments. The important thing is to work and wait for the opportunity. Now important games arrive and after the goal the other day, I have shown that I am there and that I want to be important.

Mourinho praised him at a press conference, how is your relationship with him?

Words like that from a coach of that caliber are very motivating. When you are a child you dream of being coached by people like him or Guardiola, top coaches. And despite this, he is very close. After a year working with him, I understand his philosophy, his demands, I know how he is and what he wants. He has made me improve as a player and despite playing less, he encourages me, he gives me advice and he has made me stronger mentally.

I understand that he stays after training shooting on goal.

Yes, and not only that. I’ve been with a personal physical trainer for four years, with a nutritionist, I analyze my moves to improve with a specialized company… And it all adds up, of course. Maybe these things helped me score that goal from outside the box on Sunday. Silent work, they call it (laughs).

You grew up in Barça’s 4-3-3. Was it difficult for you to adapt to Italian football?

It is true that I learned to play very open at Barça and since I arrived I have played more inside, also with Fonseca. But that’s football, you have to get used to it and play where the coach says. I love to play as a winger but I have learned to play there and I feel comfortable.

Do you think they didn’t give you the opportunities that others at Barça are now giving?

It goes through times. There was also Aleñá or Cucurella and it was a slightly more difficult moment to make that leap. It is clear that the young people who are there is because in addition to giving him opportunities, they deserve them. I left Barça two years ago and the only thing I can tell you is that I wish everything goes well for them. If I am in professional football it is thanks to them.

What has changed in Carles Pérez in these two years outside of Spain?

First, physically, because here they put a lot of cane. And of course mentally I am someone else: leaving your home, your family and your friends to fulfill your dream forces you to grow and mature. In terms of tactics I have also learned a lot. In the calcium there are fewer spaces, sometimes he defends himself with five behind…

What do you prefer, finish in European places or win the Conference?

If we finish in the Champions League it would mean that we did things well throughout the year. But it is true that the Conference is a new trophy and it is still a title and I think that the fans, in the end, would keep that. You just have to see that on Thursday the stadium will be full against Bodo/Glimt.

So far, that team has only given them problems.

The group stage was a complicated game due to many circumstances: the weather, the artificial turf… Those things only happen once in a lifetime and you have to turn the page. The best way to remedy it is to win now and qualify for the semi-finals.

Do you trust that the goal will open the doors of eleven?

I hope to continue working. If it can’t be against Bodo/Glimt I will work to be in the next matches.

Well, the following matches are not bad at all: Inter and Napoli…

They are two key games to see if we can catch Juventus and enter the Champions League. In the last 10 games we have scored 22 points, the best streak in Serie A and we want to continue like this.

What did Roma lack at the beginning to not have that dynamic?

It is clear that a period of adaptation was needed with the new coach. Now we understand better what he wants, the new players know each other better and that ends up being noticed.

Mayoral and Gonzalo Villar decided to leave due to lack of minutes. Why did you decide to stay?

I don’t want to sound heavy, but it’s all about seizing opportunities. Roma is a great club and whether they give me more or less, I want to succeed here. I feel good, it’s my home, I’m good with the people and the fans. Going to another team would have been easy, but I want to fight for it here.