In 2021, Jose Mourinho found himself at the lowest point of his career after being sacked by Manchester United and facing constant clashes with his former teams. His reputation was in question, and many believed that he had lost his touch.
However, Mourinho shocked the football world by making a surprising move to AS Roma, a team known for its history of defeat and financial struggles. This article explores Mourinho’s journey at AS Roma, his impact on the club, and his determination to prove his critics wrong.
Turning Point at AS Roma
Mourinho’s arrival at AS Roma was met with skepticism and uncertainty. The team had not won a European competition in its history and hadn’t won a major trophy in 13 years.
However, Mourinho saw an opportunity to rebuild and restore the spirit of the club. His first order of business was to get rid of the deadwood and bring in players who shared his winning mentality.
Player Transfers and Squad Revamp
Mourinho wasted no time in making changes to the squad. He let go of several players deemed not needed at the club and brought in new signings, including Tammy Abraham, Rui Patricio, and Paolo Dybala, who were considered key additions.
Mourinho also utilized free transfers and loan deals to strengthen the team. The squad assembled was a mix of experienced players and promising young talents.
Finding the Team’s Identity
Mourinho’s immediate focus for the first season at AS Roma was to find the team’s identity. While he was known for his preferred formations of 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3, he experimented with a 3-at-the-back formation.
This decision was based on the players’ familiarity with the system and allowed him to utilize their strengths effectively. The team’s performance improved, with players like Tammy Abraham and Lorenzo Pellegrini thriving under Mourinho’s guidance.
Challenges and Redemption
AS Roma faced numerous challenges throughout Mourinho’s tenure. A heavy defeat to Bodo Glimt in the Conference League shook the team, leading to a purge of players Mourinho deemed responsible for the loss.
The tension rose with negative results against top teams, but the team managed to make it to the quarter-finals of the Conference League.
A Glorious Run in the Conference League
Despite the difficulties faced by AS Roma in domestic competitions, their run in the Conference League showcased Mourinho’s tactical prowess and man-management skills.
The team staged a remarkable comeback against Bodo Glimt and went on to defeat Leicester City in the last 16. Mourinho’s motivation and guidance played a crucial role in the team’s success, with players like Tammy Abraham and Nicola Zaniolo stepping up.
European Final and Restoration of Pride
AS Roma’s appearance in the European final after 31 years was a significant achievement for the fans and the city.
Despite the Conference League being regarded as a lesser competition, Mourinho’s ability to bring silverware to the club was celebrated.
The team’s victory in the final against Feyenoord not only marked Mourinho’s fourth European trophy with four different clubs but also restored pride in the city of Rome.
Financial Constraints and Squad Challenges
The following season presented financial challenges for AS Roma due to strict Financial Fair Play regulations. The team was forced to sell players and operate with a limited budget.
Some key players like Veretout and Zaniolo were sold, and Mourinho had to rely on free transfers and loan deals to strengthen the squad.
Struggles and Europa League Run
AS Roma’s season was marred by inconsistent form, particularly in domestic competitions. However, they managed to progress in the Europa League, setting up crucial matches against Leverkusen and Sevilla.
The team’s journey to the final showcased Mourinho’s ability to grind out results, even with limited resources. Although Roma fell short in the final, Mourinho’s impact on the team and the city of Rome cannot be understated.
Jose Mourinho’s tenure at AS Roma was a story of redemption and determination. Despite starting at the lowest point of his career, Mourinho rebuilt a struggling club, restored pride in the city of Rome, and brought silverware to the club.
His tactical expertise and man-management skills were crucial in turning around the team’s fortunes. Although Mourinho’s time at AS Roma was not without its challenges, his impact will be remembered for years to come.