Full of tenacity and spirit, Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma have started the preseason with plenty of intensity.
Named the Giallorossi’s new manager for the upcoming season, Roma sporting director, Tiago Pinto, was quick to get in touch with Mourinho instantly after he was sacked from Tottenham Hotspur last term. “When Jose became available, we immediately jumped at the chance to speak with one of the greatest managers of all time,” Pinto explained.
“We were blown away by Jose’s desire to win and his passion for the game: no matter how many trophies he has won, his primary focus is always on the next one. He possesses the knowledge, experience and leadership to compete at all levels.
“We know that in order to build a successful sporting project it takes time, patience and the right people in the right positions. We are supremely confident that Jose will be the perfect coach for our project, for both our immediate and long-term future.
After sorting out the details, the legendary coach was announced as Paulo Fonseca’s successor on the 4th of May, which gave him plenty of time to settle in and plan for the new season.
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Set to be a big challenge for Mourinho, who hasn’t been hugely successful in recent years with Manchester United and Tottenham, the Roma job will throw up many challenges. Not blessed with bulging finances due to poor decisions made in previous seasons, they’ll be relying on Mourinho to weave his magic and Pinto to keep securing astute signings.
Bringing in forward Eldor Shomurodov from Genoa, Matias Vina from Palmeiras and Portuguese international keeper Rui Patricio so far, this trio certainly adds some depth and quality to their squad.
In terms of departures, some talented players have left, with Pau Lopez, Cengiz Under, Justin Kluivert and Bruno Peres deemed surplus to requirements.
Showing some promise in preseason so far against some quality opposition such as Porto, Sevilla and Real Betis, they’ve won five, drawn two and lost one of their matches.
It’s also been interesting to see their aggression, with fights breaking out in their friendlies vs. Porto and Betis, with Mourinho getting sent to the stands in the latter as his team finished with eight men.
Eager to make his side ultra competitive and hard to beat, Mourinho will want to make life as difficult as possible for opponents. Typically a coach who has his teams well drilled and organised, the early signs are he’s doing a solid job of stamping his mark.
Although winning the title will be a step too far, their aim will be to qualify for the Champions League by finishing in the top four. While Roma are priced at $19 to win Serie A, the bookies have them around $3 to make the top four, which is a realistic target.
Whether they succeed in their goal for the season or not, one thing for sure is that keeping track of Mourinho’s Roma will be hugely entertaining both on and off the pitch.
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