Jose Mourinho responds to “major disappointment” dig in trademark fashion

Jose Mourinho’s Roma take on Lazio in the Derby della Capitale on Sunday night and ahead of the clash, his time in the Eternal City has come under the microscope

The Roma boss responded to recent criticism in trademark Jose Mourinho fashion
The Roma boss responded to recent criticism in trademark Jose Mourinho fashion

Jose Mourinho sarcastically refused to respond to Zdenek Zeman’s criticisms of his time with Roma – with a reminder of his previous successes.

The Special One is still in his first season with the Serie A giants having returned to Italy after he was sacked by Tottenham at the end of last term. Roma were the biggest spenders in the Italian top flight, with hopes that Mourinho could have them challenging for the title.

However, it has been an up and down first campaign for the enigmatic Portuguese head coach and the Giallorossi now face a battle just to secure a place in the top four. And ahead of Sunday’s Derby della Capitale with Lazio, Zeman, who has managed on both sides of the Rome divide during an almost 50-year managerial career, took aim at the man currently in the Roma dugout.

Now in charge of Foggia, Zeman was asked which ex-Chelsea boss he preferred out of Mourinho and Maurizio Sarri, with the two going head-to-head this weekend: “Sarri, and it’s not a matter of preferences. Sarri’s doing a much better job, he’s already given an identity to his team. Mourinho, so far, is a major disappointment, especially in terms of quality of football on display. Lazio are much more organised.”

“Sure, he’s given a chance to some youngsters… in the final ten minutes! And then back to the bench they go. If a kid plays a game here, a game there, and then he’s sent back to the bench he won’t grow.”

Zeman added: “Today Lazio are clear favourites to win the derby. But usually in the derby it does not come down to simply who’s in better shape or who’s won more games.”






Zdenek Zeman has managed Roma on two occasions, most recently in 2013

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Mourinho was asked about Zeman’s comments, but instead pointed to their respective successes during their career, with the latter spending much of his time away from the pinnacle of the game.

He said: “Do you expect a coach who won 25 trophies to respond to someone who won Serie B twice? If you ask me a question about Giovanni Trapattoni or Fabio Capello, I am happy to answer, but Zeman… please. I can’t.”

Roma are desperate for all three points, knowing victory would see them leapfrog their neighbours, with Mourinho praising his side’s resilience ahead of the clash. “It’s a derby. It is never a match like all the others. I’ve played many derbies in my life and I’m used to these emotions. The feeling you get around here is even better when the stadium is packed with supporters.

“For a while the fans could not attend these games but now they’re in it, just like the players, the two worlds merge, and it becomes a derby of the fans as well. Football without fans, is not football. A derby without fans, is not a derby.”

Mourinho added: “The correct approach is always important. Always, not just in the derby. If you’re winning you must have the strength to maintain that result in your favour, if you’re losing you must have the strength to try to get something out of it until the very end,” he continued.

“If we want to go back to the first leg against Lazio it was 3-2 for them and we fought for a better result until the last second. The match against Juventus is infamous by now. In the last few minutes we could have equalised. If this team has one characteristic that makes me believe in a better result, it is the fact that the team is always in it, never out of it.”

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