Mourinho Praises Atalanta Model, Optimistic About Roma

José Mourinho previewed tomorrow’s tilt with Atalanta: “There is a fundamental difference between myself and Gian Piero Gasperini. He has been there for six years, I for six months. It is 12 transfer market windows against 1. They are a fantastic and very stable organization. I left them as a mid-table team, and now they are in the running for the Scudetto. We have a new ownership that is doing a great job in my mind. I have no doubts that we could win. We have remarkable team spirit.”

“Chris Smalling is available and can play. Roger Ibanez is not fully fit instead. Nicolò Zaniolo is okay, and I think he is faring well, regardless of the role. He has a good mentality, and his numbers are strange. He has yet to score, but I am happy with him. We just need to leave him alone, and he will improve.”

Mourinho again lauded Atalanta: “There are a few possible models, and I like their one. I have spent many years in clubs with a totally different mentality in the transfer market, working just for the present and not for the future. They have been highly intelligent and become economically sound too. I am sure we are on the right path too.”

“I am surely passionate about the possible goals Roma could achieve. Empathy is key, and our plan is not short-term. There is a fantastic atmosphere here. I do not want to give the match too much importance as it pertains to the Champions League race. The real challenge is whether we could measure up against a top team. More than on Atalanta, I am focused on what we can and can not do. We must not turn the ball over too easily. We have to handle the pace better.”