It was all good a year ago. Hell, it was all good a few months ago. Under José Mourinho, Roma started so well last season, immediately receiving the Special One Bump and earning a blog post from yours truly after a wild 2-1 win over Sassuolo that got the season off to a great start. Although Roma did not maintain that form and challenge for the Serie A title, then giallorossi leapt up one place in the table between years to sixth, winning the Europa League along the way.
With the introduction of Paulo Dybala from Juventus this summer, Roma appeared ready to take another step in Mourinho’s second season. That hasn’t happened and it’s fitting that another game against Sassuolo was the catalyst for an unwelcome (if you’re a Roma fan) return to Mourinho.
After a simple 1-1 draw in Reggio against did not give On Wednesday, Mourinho went on a warpath against one of his own players. In the post-match press conference, Mourinho criticized the attitude of an unnamed Roma player, saying: “It’s a difficult time for the team, but I liked the reception everyone gave, but I also have to tell you all that I really am.” disappointed with the behavior of one player who let the team down due to the lack of professionalism on the pitch.”
He went on to say that he doesn’t blame players for mistakes — “I make mistakes too and as a family we need to support each other” — but that he can’t stand unprofessional attitudes. Mourinho refused to name the player but told reporters he had told the player to find a new club in the January window.
So, who is the player? According to the Italian sale Correire dello Sport, it is Dutch wing-back Rick Karsdorp, who was at fault for Sassuolo’s equaliser. As mentioned The Guardian, Karsdorp had been involved in a minor, controversial moment at the weekend, running past the manager and the bench after a substitution to go straight into the dressing room. (Mourinho said after that game that Karsdorp had gone back to get ice, “for the knee, hamstring or fever.”)
It still doesn’t matter who the player in Mourinho’s cross is. What matters more to Roma is whether this is an isolated incident caused by an unprofessional player, or a sign of storms to come. Mourinho is a great manager, one of the best in the history of European football, but he is also by far its biggest agent of chaos. Whether it’s by repeatedly poking Arsene Wenger in the press or just causing chaos in his own dressing rooms, Mourinho follows both success and disaster wherever he goes.
Most recently, he left Tottenham Hotspur after 17 months in charge and the team was mentally broken by his short tenure. It took two more managers and the appointment of Antonio Conte to fix these issues (god, when Conte is a fix for turmoil, you know you’ve been screwing up). Now Roma must begin to wonder if they can see their future by looking at Mourinho’s past. This habit of blaming the players is not new to the special; at Real Madrid he managed to remove the legendary Iker Casillas, of all people. That dispute ultimately contributed to Mourinho’s departure from the Spanish capital.
Roma have had terrible injury luck this season – Dybala may be out until after the World Cup, Gini Wijnaldum is out for even longer and Lorenzo Pellegrini is out until 2023 after picking up a foot injury in Roma’s defeat to hated rivals Lazio. weekend — and still managed to pull a good enough result out of the bag. The club now has more points than it did at this point last year. So maybe Mourinho is just trying to cut the damage off his team and focus on players who want to win despite missing so many lights.
Perhaps Mourinho sees the writing on the wall and begins his usual tradition early: Blame everyone but himself so he escapes this season with his reputation just dented, rather than destroyed. It’s a plan that has always worked very well for him and never so well for the teams he leaves behind. Roma will have to hope this isn’t the case or they will end up with exactly what every team does whenever they hire Mourinho as an assistant, only to bring in a completely different and equally terrifying disease.