Jose Mourinho said that he and Roma had made history after winning the Europa Conference League on Wednesday, the club’s first-ever major European trophy.
Portuguese coaching icon Mourinho tried and failed to hold back the tears after Roma beat Feyenoord in their first continental final in over three decades and he was still emotional by the time he hailed his team after the trophy ceremony.
Roma fans have taken Mourinho into their hearts during an up and down season which culminated in Wednesday’s 1-0 win in Tirana which ended a 14-year trophy drought for the capital club.
Jose Mourinho said Tuesday that his experience of European glory will be no help to him as Roma are one step away from their first major continental crown.
Mourinho has won two Champions Leagues, the old UEFA Cup and the Europa League, but said he was feeling the same pressure ahead of Wednesday’s Conference League final with Feyenoord in Tirana.
“There’s not going to be anything else in my head until after tomorrow,” Mourinho told reporters.
“Previous experience isn’t helping, I thought it would but it’s not, I’m exactly as I was when I managed my first final.”
Mourinho, 59, has won over supporters after a broadly successful first season in the Italian capital in which he secured Europa League football and took Roma to their first European final in over three decades.
He got Roma into Europe’s second-tier competition thanks to a 3-0 win at Torino on the final day of the Serie A season which gave them sixth place.
“We managed to win that final and now we have another target to go for,” he added.
“Now that we’re here we have to do everything possible to make history.”
Captain Lorenzo Pellegrini said that he was going into the most important match of his career, leading his boyhood team out for the final of a competition which attracted doubters at the start of the season but has provided plenty of entertainment.
The Italy midfielder, who was born and raised in Rome and came through the club’s academy system, has been a standout player under Mourinho and is keen to give Roma their first trophy since 2008.
“It’s my first final and I’m going to play it wearing this shirt,” he said.
Jose Mourinho returns to England on Thursday on a wave of enthusiasm as upbeat Roma prepare for their third European semi-final in five seasons with fans firmly behind their charismatic manager.
Mourinho’s spell at Tottenham, the first since 2002 where he left a club without winning a trophy, left the man formerly known as The Special One’s stock at an all-time low.
A crop of attack-minded coaches had left Mourinho behind as he crept towards his 60s, but he is rebuilding his reputation in the country where his star has never waned thanks to the historic treble he won for Inter Milan nearly 12 years ago.
Defeat on Saturday at Italian champions Inter ended a 12-match unbeaten run in Serie A and fifth-placed Roma’s outside hopes of reaching the Champions League.
They were outclassed at the San Siro by a superior team who are heavily fancied to retain their league title but the 3-1 loss failed to end the positive vibes in Rome ahead of Thursday’s trip to Leicester for the first leg of their European Conference League semi.
Fans have been packing the Stadio Olimpico for recent matches with more than 65,000 attending wins over Salernitana and Bodo/Glimt and 1,600 will be in fine voice at the King Power Stadium hoping that their team end an England hoodoo.
Roma have won just one of their 22 matches played in England, at Anfield way back in 2001 with Fabio Cappello at the helm for a 2-1 aggregate UEFA Cup defeat to Liverpool, and have taken some heavy beatings from Premier League sides down the years.
Last season’s Europa League first-leg 6-2 hammering at Manchester United cost Roma their first continental final since 1984 when they were beaten by Liverpool on penalties at their own ground.
Under Mourinho, Roma look more solid than they did under predecessor Paulo Fonseca and he has managed to create a cohesion between the team and a notoriously volatile fan base which last saw their team win a trophy in 2008.
“He’s instilled in everyone the idea of never giving up, staying on it, and coming together to get results,” starlet Nicolo Zaniolo said in an interview with UEFA.
“We have a coach who knows what it takes to win, I think we’ve got a chance.”
Roma supporters have continually backed their coach even in the face of some deeply poor performances and at time embarrassing results — not even a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Bodo in the Conference League groups stage led to vociferous training ground protests which have been inflicted on previous coaches.
Considered yesterday’s man in England, Mourinho’s name still carries immense weight in Italy and fans have been prepared to stick by him in the hope that he weaves the same magic which denied them the Serie A crown in 2010.
Back then Mourinho was public enemy number one in the ‘Giallorosso’ half of the Italian capital as his Inter team pipped Roma to the league on the final day of the season, a triumph that came after Lazio fans had hailed him a “true man in a fake football” in a match against Inter they had demanded their own team lose.
Against type, the 59-year-old has even created a team which plays in a more contemporary style, pressing its opposition and at times putting together some sparkling passing manoeuvres.
Stephan El Shaarawy’s recent equaliser at then-title chasers Napoli was the latest example of rapid ball movement and forward-looking play which has helped Tammy Abraham net 24 times in all competitions in his first season in Italy.
The return from injury of Zaniolo, whose hat-trick in the previous round eased Roma’s passage into the last four, will also help Mourinho in his bid to make history.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick said he consulted Portuguese gaffer Jose Mourinho and French manager Arsene Wenger in the search for a new Super Eagles coach.
The NFF boss said this in a media parley on Wednesday in Lagos State, noting that the football body will bring a coach that is “hungry” and “ready for the challenge” of tutoring the three-time African champions.
“I also spoke with Arsene. Arsene is our technical director at FIFA. I had an interface with him about some of these coaches. And of course [we spoke to ]Mourinho. I am not going to tell you that we did not speak to Mourinho,” Pinnick explained, less than two weeks after Gernot Rohr was dismissed as the team’s coach.
“These are some of the best coaches in the world. And there is nothing wrong with it because he [Wenger] is equally concerned just the way we are.”
Pinnick, who also noted that the NFF has held talks with a former Real Madrid assistant coach and FC Porto head coach Jose Peseiro; Serbian Mladen Krstajic, said the body will stick to its recruitment process in hiring a new manager for the Super Eagles.
“The emphasis on the new coach is discipline. We will look at his antecedents on discipline,” he added.
“Secondly, we will also look at how hungry he is to win trophies because if they are hungry it supersedes so many things and if he wants to win, he will instill discipline. We will look at all these things but I cannot make a pronouncement emphatically because I will be undermining my executive committee.
“So, until my executive committee comes out within the next week or so to say this is the name because the technical committee has to bring their presentation to the executive committee. It is going to be a seamless movement to the current team headed by Eguavoen.”
Roma dropped their first points in Serie A under Jose Mourinho on Sunday as Verona came from behind to earn new coach Igor Tudor a 3-2 victory on his debut.
Lorenzo Pellegrini’s clever backheel flick gave visitors Roma a half-time lead in the pouring rain as they sought a fourth successive win to start the season.
Antonin Barak equalised for Verona shortly after the interval and Gianluca Caprari put the hosts ahead with a precise finish five minutes later.
Ivan Ilic turned a Pellegrini cross into his own goal to bring Roma level before the hour, but Davide Faraoni’s brilliant volley secured the win for Verona to halt a run of three straight losses.
Roma’s city rivals Lazio needed a late goal from Danilo Cataldi to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Cagliari.
Ciro Immobile struck for the fifth time in four games as Lazio went ahead just before the break.
Joao Pedro’s looping header pegged Lazio back right at the start of the second half, with Keita Balde then firing home against his former club to put Cagliari on top.
But the Sardinian club couldn’t hold on for victory in Walter Mazzarri’s first game in charge as Cataldi fired into the top corner seven minutes from time to rescue Lazio.
Venezia’s first Serie A home match since the 2001-02 season ended in a crushing 2-1 loss to Spezia.
Simone Bastoni curled in a sensational effort as Spezia grabbed an early lead at the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, an intriguing ground set on the south-eastern tip of Venice’s main archipelago.
Pietro Ceccaroni headed Venezia level on the hour but Mehdi Bourabia’s brilliant injury-time strike from distance earned Thiago Motta’s Spezia a first win.
AC Milan will attempt to bounce back from defeat in their first Champions League match since 2014 when they travel to fierce rivals Juventus later on Sunday.
Juve are trying to build on their 3-0 win at Malmo and crack Milan’s perfect start to the league campaign.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side were considered the pre-season favourites for the Scudetto but the sudden departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and only one draw to show from three matches has left them in disarray.
Juve are second from bottom and nine points behind defending champions and league leaders Inter Milan.
Spanish online daily El Confidencial on Wednesday followed up a batch of audio recordings of Real Madrid chairman Florentino Perez disparaging two former club legends with similar outbursts on former star Cristiano Ronaldo and former coach Jose Mourinho.
The latest quotes follow publication by El Confidencial on Tuesday of older recordings dating from 2006 in which Perez called club legends Raul and Iker Casillas “the two biggest Real Madrid frauds.”
In the second set of quotes Perez attacks Ronaldo, who won a huge haul of trophies with Real between 2009 and 2018, including four Champions Leagues.
“He is mad. This guy is an imbecile, sick. You think this guy is normal — he’s not or else he wouldn’t do all the things he does,” Perez said in the latest comments to an unidentified person, the latest of which dates from 2012.
Perez also hits out at Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes who represents both Ronaldo and Mourinho, who sat in the Real dugout from 2010 to 2013.
“Mendes has no control over him (Ronaldo) and it’s the same with Mourinho — none at all,” said Perez.
“Even for interviews, they don’t listen to him. These are two guys with terrible egos, spoilt the pair of them, who don’t see the reality because they could both earn a lot more money if they did things were different.
“They are both abnormal because we are talking about a lot of money in image rights.
“Also, it is because of the image they have, their provocative side, the fact that any people don’t like them … It’s the opposite of good publicity,” said Perez, who prides himself on his focus on Real Madrid’s business side and was a prime mover in the attempted Super league.
Many of the quotes appeared in a book by the journalist Jose Antonio Abellan “Assault on Real Madrid” published in 2015.
Perez complained on Tuesday that Abellan had made the recordings secretly and said the timing was related to his role as an organiser of the Super League.
“The quotes are from conversations clandestinely recorded by Jose Antonio Abellan, who has been trying to sell them for years without success,” said Perez, whose second stint as chairman runs to 2025.
“They are loose phrases from conversations taken out of the broad context in which they occur. That they are being reproduced now, after so many years have passed, I understand that it is due to my participation as one of the promoters of the Super League.”
He warned Tuesday that his lawyers “are studying possible actions to be taken.”
Jose Mourinho’s trophy cabinet may be bulging but new Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri said Friday that counts for nothing as the former Chelsea managers prepare to share the Stadio Olimpico next season.
Mourinho will coach Roma while Sarri takes charge of city rivals Lazio, both housed in the same stadium in the Italian capital.
“I can’t see this great dualism with Mourinho,” Sarri told a press conference in the Italian capital.
“I met him and he is a good character. He has won much more than me, has a higher pedigree than mine, even if it doesn’t count for anything. In the derby we will do everything, and more, to get through the match.”
Mourinho, 58, famously dubbed himself ‘the Special One’ to announce his arrival at Chelsea, who he lead to a first English league title in 50 years in 2005, going on to win two more league titles, and eight trophies in total in Stamford Bridge.
The Portuguese, who has won 25 trophies as a coach in his career including the Champions League with Inter Milan and Porto, signed for Roma two weeks after being sacked by Tottenham.
Sarri won his first coaching trophy with Chelsea in the Europa League in 2019 before moving to Juventus where he won Serie A in 2000 before being dismissed.
But the 62-year-old believes he has found the right fit in Lazio, a team who have won Serie A twice, most recently in 2000.
“I chose Lazio for two reasons — a personal one and a sporting one,” said the Italian coach famed for his ‘Sarriball’ fast-paced, possession-based style brand of attacking football at Napoli from 2015-18.
“I saw in this club the characteristics to express myself at best. In this team I see the conditions to play the football I like.
“Lazio comes at a time when I needed this type of club, with these characteristics, which could lead me to do this job in the way that suits me best.”
He added: “The club wanted to me to sign a four-year contract.
“I wanted it shorter because I want to be sure in two years that I have the same energy. We will play in a different way, we will try to remain competitive.”
Rejuvenated Manchester United star Paul Pogba has criticized former boss Jose Mourinho on his man management techniques, accusing him of leaving players dejected for no reason.
Pogba and Mourinho had a somewhat torrid relationship when the Portuguese controlled the reins at Old Trafford.
With the see saw performance exhibited by the Frenchman and continued criticism from former club legends, the situation worsened to the point that the Portuguese stripped Pogba of the captain’s arm band.
In an interview with Skysports, the French midfielder was full of praise for the current boss, Ole -Gunner Solskjaer and his role in making the team a strong unit.
“What I have now with Ole is different, he wouldn’t go against the players,” the former world cup winner said when asked about this relationship with the current boss.
“He wouldn’t go against the players… Maybe Ole wouldn’t pick them, but it’s not like he puts them on the side like they don’t exist anymore. That’s the difference between Mourinho and Ole.”
The 28-year-old seemed befuddled on how things went sour between he and the current Tottenham boss.
“Once I had a great relationship with Mourinho, everybody saw that, and the next day you don’t know what happened. That’s the strange thing I had with Mourinho and I cannot explain to you because even I don’t know. So, yeah,” he stated.
Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford still remains a doubt, believes Mourinho was his usual coy self in evading reality and refusing to admit defeat by criticising Solskjaer’s post-match comments
“If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I am very, very disappointed, and like we say in Portugal bread is bread and cheese is cheese, I told Ole already what I think about his comments” when asked on his thoughts about Mourinho’s jibe at Ole.
“We won the game, he lost the game and he doesn’t want to speak about the game, he wants to speak about the dad of someone, that’s what he does. Everybody knows him, it’s very Mourinho.
Continuing in his praise for the Norwegian, Pogba stated he and once out of favour team mate Luke Shaw have thrived under the current leadership due to his approach
“Maybe [Solskjaer’s methods work] because he is a bit closer to the people,” he said.
“Ole has helped Luke a lot, it was a difficult season with Luke and Mourinho, and he has proved he has the quality he always had and the trust of the manager.”
Pogba will be hoping to close the gap on Manchester City when his side take on Burnley on Sunday.
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said he has never experienced a similar feeling to the pain of crashing out of the Europa League to Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday.
Spurs took a 2-0 first leg lead to the Croatian capital, but a hat-trick of excellent finishes from Mislav Orsic claimed a huge shock for Dinamo.
Mourinho turned on his players’ attitude after the match, while Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris branded the result a “disgrace”.
In his two previous campaigns in the Europa League, Mourinho won the competition with Porto and Manchester United.
The Portuguese also won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan, while the majority of his exits from European football’s top competition have come in the latter stages to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.
“Honestly I don’t believe (I had) a similar feeling,” said Mourinho when asked if it was his worst European exit.
“I had in Europe moments of big pain but pain caused by what football is. I lost two Champions League semi-finals on penalties. It hurts you. (I’m) maybe still bleeding.
“But the passion for football, the respect for your job is something that hurts me deeply. And I have this very bad feeling. This very bad feeling because maybe for some people in football, football is a job or a way to make money.
“For me, it’s much more than that. That’s what I never lose – this basics of football, which is the passion, the heart, the desire. I feel very, very hurt that I cannot find more words to describe it.”
Mourinho’s future at Tottenham is now in doubt with a return to the Champions League next season looking unlikely.
Spurs are eighth in the Premier League, six points adrift of the top four, although they do have a game in hand away to Aston Villa on Sunday.
Mourinho also has one other chance to save his first full season in charge when Tottenham face runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City in the League Cup final next month.
But he acknowledged the size of the task his side face at Wembley if they are to halt City’s quest for an unprecedented quadruple.
“The only chance that we have to win a trophy this season is the final that we have to play against a very good team, against the next champions and a team that match after match show an incredible desire of winning,” added Mourinho.
“So it’ll be a very difficult final and if we want to have a chance to win it, the attitude has to be completely different.”
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said on Friday that Gareth Bale’s upbeat midweek Instagram post was a “contradiction” with reality, insisting that the Wales international had reported fitness concerns.
Bale, on loan from Real Madrid, missed Wednesday’s 5-4 FA Cup defeat at Everton after he was absent from training on Monday and asked for a scan following some discomfort.
The 31-year-old, who has struggled to make an impact since his return to Spurs, was an unused substitute in Sunday’s 2-0 win over West Brom.
Despite not being available for the trip to Goodison Park, a social media update from the Welshman a day earlier stated: “Good session today.”
Mourinho was quizzed on the Bale’s availability ahead of Saturday’s match at Premier League leaders Manchester City.
“It was a contradiction between the post and the reality,” the Portuguese said at his pre-match press conference.
“Since the beginning of the season in relationship to everything, I try to be very private and try to keep everything indoors, but I felt I needed to address the situation.
“Probably the post was not even his responsibility, I don’t know. But the post was showing ‘training session great and I am ready’ and was totally wrong.”
Mourinho said Bale had reported “not feeling good” and had asked for a scan.
“He had a scan, the scan didn’t show an injury but his feelings were still there and coaches, sports science and medical people, we can never go against feelings because the player’s feelings are much more important than all of us,” said the Spurs boss.
“So he was not ready for the game. It is as simple as that. If he is ready for tomorrow, he is selected for tomorrow.”
Jose Mourinho took a swipe at title rivals, Liverpool, on Tuesday as the Tottenham manager claimed the Premier League champions do not have an injury crisis.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will be without a host of injured stars including Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Diego Jota and Thiago Alcantara when leaders Tottenham face second-placed Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday.
Xherdan Shaqiri, Kostas Tsimikas and James Milner are also sidelined for Liverpool, while Naby Keita and Joel Matip could miss out due to injury issues.
But Mourinho insisted Liverpool’s strongest team has not been affected because Netherlands centre-back Van Dijk is their only significant absentee.
“I think Alisson is not injured. Alexander-Arnold is not injured. Matip, I believe that he’s going to play. Fabinho is not injured. Robertson is not injured. Henderson is not injured. Wijnaldum is not injured. Salah is not injured, Firmino is not injured, Mane is not injured,” Mourinho told reporters on Tuesday.
“Van Dijk is injured and Van Dijk is a very good player of course. But give me a Liverpool list of injuries and compare that list with what is the best Liverpool team.
“I can give you a list of 10 injuries at Tottenham. We have two kids of the Under-16s with injuries, we have two others in the Under-21s and two in the Under-23s, we have Lamela and Tanganga. And here is a list of 10 players.
“But is Lloris injured? No. Alderweireld injured? No. Dier injured? No. Reguilon injured no? Harry Kane injured? No. Son injured? No. Lucas injured? No. So where are the injuries?
“Injuries are normal. James Milner is injured, Lamela is injured. You know. Every club has injuries now and again. Liverpool has a big injury which is Van Dijk.”
– Results machine –
Tottenham are unbeaten in 11 Premier Leagues games since losing to Everton on the opening weekend of the season.
Chasing a first top-flight title since 1961, Tottenham sit above Liverpool on goal difference and must avoid defeat on Wednesday to retain pole position.
Klopp praised Mourinho on Tuesday for the work he has done at Tottenham since replacing Mauricio Pochettino last season.
The Liverpool boss said Mourinho had turned Tottenham into a “results machine”.
But Mourinho is adamant his side are still behind Liverpool in their development.
“Jurgen says that because if you look to our results this season, we lost one in the Premier League and we lost one in the Europa League so our results are very positive,” the Mourinho said.
“But I think it’s too early, and the period of good results is about a few months and a results machine of course is much more than that.
“A result machine is what Liverpool has been for the past couple of years, a result machine was what my Chelsea was in the period we won the two consecutive titles.
“We are a good team that works hard but I would say Liverpool is the result of if I’m not wrong 1,894 days of work with Jurgen — 1,894. If I’m wrong I’m wrong by a few days.
“We are the result of work of 390 days, but these 390 days are fake, because probably lots of these days were not even days of work but days of quarantine, days of being at home unable to work.
“So from almost 2,000 to 300. For us to be able to compete at the level we’re doing I can only give credit to the players and be very, very happy with what they’re doing.”
Tottenham are likely to be without Gareth Bale at Anfield as the Wales forward is suffering from an non-coronavirus related illness.