Roma manager Jose Mourinho says he cannot accept that his professionalism and dignity are being questioned ahead of their match with Milan. There were once again questions over the Special One’s behaviour, given that he is disqualified for yet another match and will be forced to watch the match from the stands. Speaking ahead of the match, the Portuguese tactician began by addressing the criticism of him by Italian media in recent days for missing training the day after their derby defeat to Lazio:
“I have been here for two years and five months and I am the only one who has not missed a single training session. For me there are no illnesses, no bad moods. Months ago I needed a day for a situation that I don’t have to explain. I told director Tiago Pinto and the owners and decided that the day after the derby would be good. I was out of Rome for fifteen hours. It seems ridiculous to me to justify this. In no way do I accept that my professionalism and dignity, my heart for this job is being questioned. If there is a perfect example of professionalism, it is me. ”
“Mila? We are playing against a team playing for the title, playing to win the Scudetto. This year it seems that the distance between them and Juventus and Inter will be difficult to close, but that’s the team. They lost some important players to injury in defence, Pulisic, Jovic, Leao, Reijnders, Loftus Cheek are all fine. They got Terracciano and Gabbia to make up for the absences, it’s a team that will want to win after the cup defeat, which was a goal for them. They will put everything into this match. They know all our difficulties. I spoke to the players yesterday about analysis and attitude and I don’t have any kind of problem. We have to use the difficulties to justify what more we have to do.”
“The derby loss to Lazio? I never said it wasn’t a penalty the one awarded to Lazio, I said it was a penalty from different times”
“At training there were six players. There are people who from an individual point of view have to give more. On the pitch we have to put the extra attitude that goes against everyone into people’s eyes. I understand perfectly well that people are not happy about some situation that for me is out of context. It’s not an individual sport, but a collective one: the attitude of someone has an influence on the whole team. Whose responsibility is it? Mine as a coach, and the individual responsibility of the players. It’s a multifactorial situation. When I prepare the team well, I feel betrayed by individual attitudes that affect the performance’.
“The society? I am also the club. I don’t have a high position, I am the coach, but I am part of the society. When I speak, I consider my words as those of the society. I always want to be correct.
“After the first three league games, this is the toughest moment of the season. Criticism is fine, but we can’t say there are no difficulties. Even now, in defence there will be Cristante who is not a defender, Mancini who hasn’t trained for a month and will play in the middle, the boy (Hujisen, ed.) will play, Llorente who is injured. We lost the derby, but a championship to play for. We’re four points away from the Champions target, which if we weren’t we would have called it unbridgeable. The teams aiming for fourth place are stronger. But we are Roma, and they think my name is José Harry Mourinho Potter, so the level of demand on us increases. I’ll be in the stands, in a habitat where I’m not welcome’.
“Will Dybala be available? I think not. An absence, which weighs on the heads of the players: “For us playing without Dybala is not like for Guardiola when there is no Haaland, who makes Alvarez play, it is not like for Klopp, who when there is no Diaz plays Jota. People don’t understand that Roma are having a difficult time because of Financial Fair Play. Dybala is a special player. We don’t have another one like him here. Tomorrow Joao Costa will be called up, and he could play.”