Managers in the footballing world are often known for their accomplishments achieved with their teams. Some are even known for how dismally they perform. However, there are very few who are equally famous for their winnings and their antics across spells in charge of various clubs. Jose Mourinho is one such lively character who will manage Roma at the start of next season.
Journalist: “Jose, City had the ball for 90mins. 80% possession”
Jose Mourinho: “They can take the ball home. I’ll take the 3 points”
— M. (@MikhaeIII) December 4, 2020
The Portuguese is renowned for his time at almost all his managerial appointments, though there have been a lot of media antics of late. The man who shot to the limelight after masterminding Porto’s 2004 Champions League win and his subsequent stupendous time at Chelsea and Inter Milan has been rather losing his shine. His second coming at Chelsea ended in disaster, as did time with Manchester United and Tottenham, where he came more of a senile old man who was living off his glory days.
51% – Only with Leiria (45%) has José Mourinho posted a lower win ratio in all competitions in his managerial career than he has with Tottenham Hotspur (51% – won 44/86 games). Sacked. pic.twitter.com/lunYGIMwh8
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 19, 2021
With time running out to get back in the game, it took quite a few people by surprise when he was given charge of AS Roma from the upcoming season. A return to Italy beckons for the ‘Special One’ and this could literally decide how he is to be remembered in the annals of football history.
Mourinho’s last spell on the sidelines, his time with Spurs, ended in acrimony as they were in rotten form. Conceding goals due to calamitous defending, no attacking alternatives to Harry Kane-Heung Min Son and his sound bites did not help the cause. He was fired just days before the side’s Carabao Cup final, with many concluding that his time in the top flight of football is finished. But the wisest amongst the lot knew that it will be a Herculean misstep to think he will not be back.
1 – In what was his 327th home league match, Spurs boss José Mourinho has suffered back-to-back league defeats on home soil for the very first time in his managerial career. Questions. pic.twitter.com/LB6fAhV1uU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 4, 2021
Indeed, this is the man who boasted of his Premier League titles credentials, called a rival manager “voyeur,” and gets opposition fans riled up at every opportunity. His new journey with Roma could be the spark he needs to relaunch his brand. The Giallorossi had a fairly underwhelming 2020-21 season, finishing 7th in Serie A. They were six and 15 points adrift of Lazio and Napoli respectively, teams with whom they are supposed to be contending.
Our 2020-21 campaign comes to an end.
Through the highs and lows, thank you to the fans for the support that always kept pushing us on.
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) May 23, 2021
The team’s defence was particularly problematic, as they went on to concede 3 goals or more eight times over the regular season. Their erstwhile manager Paulo Fonseca had become something of a joking figure at the club due to his inability to have his team improve at times, and of course, getting them ousted from the Coppa Italia due to making six substitutions in a match. With Mourinho, defence will always be a priority for the side.
📅 On This Day In 2004
Chelsea appointed Jose Mourinho ✍️
In his first season Chelsea set a new record for fewest goals conceded in a Premier League season (15). ⛔️
— EPL Statman (@EPLStatman) June 2, 2021
Lest we forget this is the man who won the Premier League with the fewest goals allowed, and Roma really need that kind of quality immediately. Roma does seem like the ideal club for Mourinho in order to build his reputation back up. There will no urgency to win trophies from day one, so he can take his time in constructing a team that will compete well. They have a decent transfer budget and are already on the cusp of signing Granit Xhaka from Arsenal.
Xhaka has spoken out on his Arsenal futurehttps://t.co/OWsxOReLxK
— football.london (@Football_LDN) June 11, 2021
Mourinho knows he can take some time to get going and make a winning team, but he will also be keenly aware of the fact that poor results here will lead to a darker future. The club is in the playoff round for the inaugural Europa Conference League as well, which is a competition that he will want to target for silverware. Not to mention the fact that his hunger for winning is still very much alive, and it will be interesting to see how he goes about his work in the early parts of the season. No doubt his aim will be to get back in the Champions League though that might take some time to materialize with Roma.
Roma have some solid, creative, and technical players in their ranks for Mourinho to get started with. Edin Dzeko is the most obvious goal scoring threat, who had an uncharacteristically off-season with just seven goals. He can greatly benefit working with Mourinho, and along with Mkhitaryan (13 goals, 10 assists) can become the “Kane & Son” for Roma.
✨ @HenrikhMkh ✨
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) May 25, 2021
Indeed, they are the most crucial sources of goals, and will be supported by an able midfield in Lorenzo Pelligrini, Jordan Veretout, and Bryan Cristante. Mourinho can bring out the best in them by allowing them more freedom to express themselves and instilling a sense of confidence that has been lacking. He will also welcome back the services of Italian sensation Nicolo Zaniolo who missed the entirety of last year. That will no doubt further help the experienced veterans up top.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 12, 2020
Further back, the manager might look to bring in some wizened faces to dry up the amount of goals let in. Nobody amongst the current crop has had an exceptional season and it will be little surprise if new signings do come. He has a good mixture of youth in the team who will be keen to get more minutes under their belt. Though they played three at the back under Fonseca, the shape might revert back to a conventional back four allowing them to remain more compact.
The 2021-22 season for the club and manager promises to be an entertaining one. Roma would have been well aware of the potential risks associated with Mourinho, but his intensity to get the results cannot be questioned. If he can get a good run of form going and have the supporters with him, the team can quietly go leaps and bounds sooner rather than later. No matter what happens, Mourinho will know he needs to bring his A-game if he is to get back in the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time) conversation for managers in this era.