Mourinho is a fan of Inter, but he makes Roma stronger
In April, when the Wolves’ 12-match unbeaten streak came to an end at the San Siro when they lost 1-3 to Inter, José was praising Inzaghi’s side. He was confident it was his former club who would take the Scudetto. The Portuguese does not hide his special relationship with the Nerazzurri. In the past he certainly tried to persuade the new owners to bring him back to the club from Milan.
But of late, José has had more difficult and modest tasks. He failed to make Tottenham happy with a trophy. He left on the eve of the long-awaited final. At Roma everything was more successful, although the way was thorny. UEFA reform has helped, the third European Cup went to the Romans. Judging by the violent reaction of the fans from the Eternal City, it is clear how important this spring’s victory was for them.
Fanaticism in Italy has one particularity: the reference to the times when there was no united Italy because of the neighboring imperialism. When Gogol lived there, he traveled from one country to another. The northern part was under Austrian rule. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the unification wars began. And centuries later, “calcho” as a form of pride because of the roots.
If one is from Florence, supporting Juventus would be treason, grandmother would spit in the lasagna. Of course, there are enough glorichantes, they are shaped by the international successes of Italian clubs in the past. But in the capital you have to choose more often, are you for the Wolves or the Eagles? Otherwise, what kind of Roman are you? Mourinho was clearly aware of that, he is an understanding man.
Playing on his pinched soccer ego, he creates a team for the stars. “Roma are not Eurocup specialists, although they have lost finals behind them. And they conquered Serie A only in 2001. Back then, the squad was much juicier. Mourinho does not promise a miracle, but he believes in it, because only such a man could win the Champions League with Porto and Inter.
Powerful players are coming to the coach
Capello has got world-class players in Rome. Cafu, Zago, Candela and Aldair were already like Totti and Delvecchio. With Fabio, already after the eccentric Zeman, they signed stars. Montella, Antonioli, Nakata, Cristiano Zanetti, Samuel, Emerson, and most importantly Batistuta came. The Fiorentina legend believed that with Capello it was possible to make a breakthrough to the Scudetto.
Everyone was doing one thing in common. Capello had enough experience to keep Juventus slightly behind. There are enough stories like that in Serie A. Pioli managed to restore dignity to the great AC Milan in the spring, taking the long-awaited title. Conte did the same when he beat everyone with Inter. The title went to a club that hadn’t celebrated it for a long time.
“Napoli, despite the efforts of Sarri and Spalletti, did not experience the insane emotion of being champion. “Lazio” only remembers the brilliance of medals. But each club can develop, as can Roma. Mourinho attracts players and Totti, the sports director, meets and convinces them to sign. Dibala only got 6 million euros at Roma, including bonuses.
But it’s not about the money. Paulo was welcomed like a hero and was offered a central role in the project. Wijnaldum was well paid in Paris, but went to Rome. So far, Mourinho has received only free agents, a rented Dutchman and Turkish lateralist Celik. Dotally, but competently, as Abraham and Patriciu were persuaded a year ago. Jose has strengthened key positions.
Roma can benefit from new European experience
“Sevilla are not Spanish champions, but their experience in La Liga has helped them in spite of their strategy of selling their leaders. “Roma decided to make money by sending players to Marseille, but other farewells, like the parting of Florenzi or Olsen, do not put an end to their prospects. Neither does Mkhitaryan’s departure to Inter. This is the next series after Jeko’s departure.
Mourinho got a full squad to play in a 4-3-3 scheme. Zagnolo’s desire to leave for Juventus does not change the plans. The emergence of Wijnaldum and Matic strengthens the midfield. The veterans, along with Cristante, will help team captain and Roma pupil Pellegrini create chances. Dybala, Abraham and El Shaarawy will play in the attacking three. Not a bad choice.
Icardi hasn’t been caught out yet, Shomurodov might change clubs to get more game practice, but the attacking squad is good. Even in defense there was no order by Jose’s standards, but it was not a nightmare either. Used to concede 55 goals a season, allowed xGA 50, made a lot of mistakes. Last championship we conceded 43 goals and the quality of chances dropped to 42.
Napoli with Coulibaly is far from the standards, but Roma does not have a defender of that class. But Spinazzolla, the hero of the start of Euro 2020, returned after a serious injury, and behind him there is a young Pole, born in Italy – Nikola Zalewski. He chose the White Eagles, but at the club level he still plays for the Wolves. Winning European Cups encouraged them all, they felt the strength.
Rome’s main problem is the center of defense
Ibañez and Mancini are not the best central defenders in Serie A. But together with Kumbulla and Smalling, they scored a four. Tanganga and Biyi were also interested, they know Mourinho personally. And on the right there is not only Celik, but also the Dutchman Karsdorp. This defender was never a star from the sky, but physically strong, he will do well for the squad. Many of the roster, starting with Abraham, is fine.
Although it’s clear they’re a long way from a championship. Artificial Intelligence gives Roma a 5% chance of winning the Scudetto, and estimates the probability of victory for Mourinho’s favorites from Inter as 36%. But if we talk about getting into the top 4, we see a paradox – the chances of Juventus is estimated at 29%, and the probability of Roma in the top four is higher – 37%. This is a dynamic algorithm, the numbers will change the results.
But before the start of the season, without statistics, it is clear that Spalletti, Gasperini, Sarri, Allegri and Mourinho will put up a battle for two Champions League places. Jose has a chance to make the sixth Serie A team into the fourth, because Wijnaldum could be a mainstay at Liverpool itself even now, and Dibala is a Serie A superstar in his best matches. Roma has a lot of really useful players.
And Mourinho is a coach who knows how to inspire an obedient team for successful stretches. If Rui Patriciu can rest at least occasionally – last season the Portuguese carried 73% of his shots and made 103 saves – the Wolves will bite many. In such a competitive league, fourth place would be a success. Yes, and in the Europa League will not be the worst.
For example, in the case of a playoff meeting with MJ, Ten Hague’s team could hardly be called a favorite. “Roma, thanks to transfers and Mourinho, has not become Atletico or Inter on the level of better soccer. But you should not look for it among the fortunate anymore either – a sturdy team that has lured an experienced coach. Jose is no longer a special, but he has not become ordinary either.
For example, the European champion may want to work with him. Quentin Tarantino is afraid of being an old director whose films are inferior to the worst movies he made in his youth. Mourinho at Roma is trying to prove that he should not be written down as a pensioner, because José has repeatedly said that he will retire as a coach when he leads one of the national teams.