(Reuters) – AS Roma are in freefall, with the cracks continuing to widen as the same Jose Mourinho gripes remain headline news in the Italian capital.
All was going so well for Mourinho on his return to Serie A at the start of the season.
Back to coach in Italy, where he had steered Inter Milan to an unprecedented treble during his last spell in the country, Mourinho led Roma to six wins from his six opening matches in all competitions.
Italy seemed like the perfect place for Mourinho to revitalise his coaching career after he had been sacked from his previous two jobs at Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.
Results, however, soon took a turn for the worse, as Mourinho’s men slid down to seventh in the Serie A standings, having won only five of their last 13 league matches.
As is often the case with Mourinho, he has looked elsewhere when searching for someone to blame for Roma’s slump.
Referees have been subjected to Mourinho’s ire on several occasions this season, while after October’s humiliating 6-1 defeat by Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League, it was the players who the Portuguese targeted.
“If I could pick the same players every time I would, but it is a risk. There is a difference in quality between one group of players and the other,” Mourinho said after the game in Norway.
Following Saturday’s 3-0 loss at home to Inter Milan – a very one-sided affair from start to finish – Mourinho’s news conference after the match was spiky, even by the 58-year-old’s standards.
“Your job is a lot easier than ours, which is why we earn a lot more than you,” Mourinho snapped after refusing to answer the first question from journalists.
His television interview was no less fractious as he refused to take questions from pundits in the studio, before giving one monologue viewpoint of the game, adding in another excuse for the defeat.
“Inter are stronger than us in normal conditions,” he told DAZN. “In non-normal conditions, they are much stronger than us. Last season, they were 29 points ahead of Roma.
“Today, with injuries and suspended players, it was very, very difficult.”
With new owners in place to work with, Mourinho was always going to get time to turn things around in Rome as they look to strengthen the squad.
But the gulf between Roma and Inter, who did not have to over-exert to earn victory in the Stadio Olimpico, showed just how much work Mourinho has to do.
More performances of such below-par nature will not do much for Mourinho’s mood, with fireworks set to continue to attract plenty of attention.
(Reporting by Peter Hall)