The Honeymoon Is Over: Is Mourinho Losing Control at Roma?

Since the turn of the new century, no football manager has been able to hug the limelight quite like José Mourinho. We’re talking about a tactician whose fame and charisma exceeds that of his star players. Therefore, when Roma shocked the world by announcing the Special One’s return to Serie A, the capital side was almost immediately rebranded as “Mourinho’s Roma”.

The former translator announced himself on the big stage when he led Porto to a shocking Champions League triumph in 2003, a major achievement that earned him a lucrative contract at Chelsea, and he’s been managing at the top level ever since.

But those who followed the storied career of the Portuguese know the drill by now. The tactician is not exactly a man who’s meant to “live happily ever after”. On the contrary, his stints usually reach a sad and abrupt ending.

The 58-year-old’s tenures at Chelsea (twice), Real Madrid, Manchester United and most recently Tottenham Hotspur almost always ended in bad blood. The only time he left on his own terms was following his famous treble at Inter, when he paid farewell to the club with a long tearful hug to Marco Materazzi.

Eleven years later, Mourinho found himself in Italy once again, but instead of leading the strongest team in the country, he’s been charged with rebuilding Roma – a task that undoubtedly requires some time, work, dedication and patience. Whether the former Porto manager still have the energy and passion to fulfill it remains doubtful.

Surely the Giallorossi fans were ecstatic to witness the arrival of a major attraction to their beloved club, that has been cast aside from the discussion in the past few years. And watching him sprinting towards the Curva Sud to celebrate Stephan El Shaaraw’s winner over Sassuolo cemented his place in the hearts of the supporters.

Nonetheless, the Portuguese’s mood can swiftly turn to the worse – a characteristic that he shares with the club’s supporters.

In his first Roman Derby, Mourinho lost the dugout battle to Maurizio Sarri as Lazio earned the win over Roma. In his second major test with his new club, he was outfoxed by Max Allegri who led Juventus towards a crafty win.

Following the defeat at the hands of the Old Lady, the manager defended his players, claiming that they deserved to earn all three points. How much this statement was accurate doesn’t truly matter, but it’s Mourinho’s willingness to defend his team that sent a positive signal to the management and fans alike.

Nonetheless, it appears that his affection towards his players doesn’t extend to the substitutes.

On Thursday, Roma lost 1-6 at the hands of Bodo/Glimt in a Conference League game. It’s needless to say that a top Italian team getting humiliated by a Norwegian side that most of us never even heard of is a disaster in itself.

However, Mourinho managed to almost literally add insult to injury, by simply throwing those who played under the bus, explaining how he only has 13 decent players in his squad, while those were given the chance in the Conference League fixture lack the quality needed.

The coach blamed himself for the result after handing his substitutes a chance to feature, but in essence, he was indirectly blaming sporting manager Tiago Pinto for failing to deliver a quality squad.

So in one post-match outburst, Mourinho created a rift with the Roma management, while drawing a line between his trusted 13 players and the rest of the squad who will be featuring even less from now on due to their “lack of quality” (according to the man himself).

In such turbulent atmosphere one must wonder how long will it take for the entire locker room to explode in the tactician’s face.

Amidst these complicated circumstances, the high-flying Napoli will pay the Romans a visit on Sunday evening. Unwanted guests led by a despised former manager (Luciano Spalletti), but for Mourinho and Roma they have no other option but to tie their laces and put up a fight, as only a positive result can take them out their dark tunnel.

On the other hand, a defeat would widen the rifts within the club and subjugate it to yet another gloomy campaign.

Read More – Bodo/Glimt vs Roma 6-1: Giallorossi Get Dismantled in Norway