José Mourinho who was named Roma manager in May, it was hailed as a tremendous triumph for the Italian club, with the city ecstatic and convinced that he was the guy to lead them to the next level.
Three months ago, they were humiliated 6-1 by Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League (ECL), and their domestic form has also been inconsistent.
Roma are eighth in Serie A, the same position they were in previous season, which prompted predecessor Paulo Fonseca’s departure, and were 3-1 up against Juventus at home on January 9, only to lose 4-3 due to three late goals.
Following the match, Mourinho claimed that his players had suffered a “psychological breakdown,” a complaint familiar to those who have followed the Portuguese throughout his recent periods as manager of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Despite these challenges, he has the support of the club’s supporters and owners. For the time being, he has credit in the bank.
No one can succeed at Roma if Mourinho can’t.
José Mourinho’s three-year contract at 7.5 million euros (£6.25 million) each year was met with considerable talk of “the project” by both the club and the manager.
There was talk of taking the time to construct something new and long-lasting, as well as having large transfer monies accessible.
And José Mourinho has the support of his peers. Roma spent 100 million euros (£83.6 million) on Matias Vina, Rui Patricio, Marash Kumbulla, Eldor Shomurodov, and Tammy Abraham this summer.
Things got off to a good start for him, as he won seven of his first eight games in charge. However, as winter set in, the outcomes got more bleak.
In truth, Roma has only actually won one league game this season against a team believed to be on par with them – a 1-0 win over Atalanta in December.
Yes, they’ve had other successes, and their recent form has been decent – they’ve beaten Cagliari and Spezia in their last six games – but the guy who was expected to help the club compete with the division’s best teams has yet to do so.
It’s worth noting that Jose Mourinho didn’t inherit a good scenario.The Roma team is uneven. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini aren’t doing much defensive work in midfield, causing Jordan Veretout to play out of place, and defenders are regularly distracted.
Mourinho has made a name for himself as a master of assembling a tenacious squad, but issues of leadership and mindset, which predate him, appear to have stayed unaffected.
So far, no evidence of his signature football have surfaced. Where is his teams’ usual defensive tenacity and cynicism? Will midfielder Sergio Oliveira, who was a vital player in Roma’s win against Cagliari last weekend, be a new key for balance in front of the defense?
“Mourinho is Rome’s last hope; if he fails, no one else will,” said Matteo De Santis, a journalist with La Stampa in Rome. “It’s romantic to think he’ll finally bring a trophy to the club, because it was he who, when he was at Inter in 2009, talked about Roma’s ‘zero titles.”
“He’s one of the most successful executives in history.” Furthermore, they admire his demeanor. He’s not afraid to challenge officials and journalists, and he’s not afraid to make specific requests to the club. He has unwavering support from his fans.”
His season will be defined by the Coppa Italia and the Europa Conference League
There was always the impression that the club and Mourinho were taking a risk.
Roma is benefiting from it in certain respects. The manager, who will turn 59 next week, has increased the value of the club and its owners, and there is now more interest in them.
There are more commercial prospects, he is well-liked by fans, and he is well-liked by the media.But, in the end, it’s how he molds the team on the field that matters.
This is one of the most difficult challenges Mourinho has ever faced, and despite having previously managed Chelsea and Inter Milan, there is a sense that if the “failures” at Manchester United and Tottenham are not quickly followed by notable success, he will not get many more opportunities among Europe’s biggest clubs.
Inter Milan, AC Milan, Atalanta, and Napoli are just better in the league than Roma, while Juventus is still Juventus, despite a terrible season.As a result, the Coppa Italia and the Europa Conference League are two of Mourinho’s best chances this season.
Roma host Lecce in the Coppa Italia last 16 on Thursday, and are through to the ECL knockout rounds after winning their group despite their loss in Norway.
With his previous side Tottenham Hotspur, the other highest-ranked team in the group stages, out, the path to a European trophy is reasonably straightforward.
Not long ago, Mourinho was contemptuous of the Europa League’s second tier. But now that he’s in Europe’s new third-tier tournament, he has no choice but to pursue it.
The two cup contests will define his season and determine how he would be regarded in Rome.
The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the club’s sole European title, has been missing for 61 years, and ending that drought would further bolster the case that Mourinho is the man to deliver Rome long-term triumph.