Former Roma and Milan coach Fabio Capello says that ‘betting on risky players didn’t pay off’ for the Giallorossi. The veteran coach was speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport and offered his assessment of where things might have gone wrong for Jose Mourinho’s men:
Capello, when championships get off to a bad start, how do you deal with situations like that to try to get out of them?
“By trusting in the group. You have to be lucky enough to have leaders in the locker room who encourage others not to get depressed and to start performing as expected. In this case it is necessary for everyone to row in the same direction, especially if there is the certainty that the technical qualities of the team are up to expectations.
Roma didn’t start well, but can having an experienced coach like Mourinho be an added value?
“Definitely. Having seen a lot in your career helps you come out of difficult moments. By dealing with a coach who has experience and charisma, the players feel calmer.
Can the club play a role in getting the group out of the doldrums?
“I would say yes, as long as there is no one who wants to replace the coach. If this were to happen, it could trigger potentially dangerous dynamics, but with Mourinho this risk is not run.
How do you explain such a complicated start for the Giallorossi?
“I think there are many factors. It’s no mystery that Roma have made several bets on many players who have a very significant injury history. Let’s say that so far the right ‘numbers’ have not come out, because this lottery so far has not yielded the desired results.
Needless to say, the replacements are unlikely to be as good as the likes of Smalling, Spinazzola, Sanches, Pellegrini or Dybala.
“I always say it: the quality of the music can be seen by the level of the conductors you have. It’s the good players who make the difference, and a coach understands these things well.”
Yet in the last period, both Lukaku and Dybala have seemed to fall short of their real potential.
“These two strikers are not up for discussion. Then it seems to me that the Belgian, with his national team, has made it clear that he has not at all lost his flair for goal (see opposite, ed.). The discourse is different for Dybala, who is also paying for his injuries. Perhaps, however, compared to last season, a significant difference has been underestimated’.
“The 2022-23 season had an anomaly: the interruption in the autumn to allow the World Cup to be held in Qatar. Last season the preparation was done differently than usual and perhaps some players benefited from this. It is possible that now, with the standard match schedule, some of the old problems have come to the surface.
The only thing that will be needed for Mourinho to get back on the waterline, therefore, will be to hope to recover his best players from injuries.
‘Certainly. Only in this way, for example, can we expect to win the direct clashes against the competitors for the upper zones of the standings, something that Roma have managed quite poorly so far.
Are you optimistic that this can happen relatively quickly, especially taking into account that the commitments, with the start of the Coppa Italia, will multiply?
‘I don’t know. It will depend on whether the right ‘numbers’ come up in the lottery they mentioned earlier. But I have the impression that perhaps not even Mourinho will know that.