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“I know what it’s like to work in Rome” — Ex-Lazio boss tips Jose Mourinho to be the first Serie A sacking of 2021/22

By Ben Green

Published: 13:18, 20 July 2021

Former Lazio manager Delio Rossi believes Jose Mourinho is most at risk of being the first Serie A sacking of the new season.

Mourinho, 58, relocated to the Italian capital in May as the new head coach of Roma following the departure of Paulo Fonseca, returning to Serie A for the first time since guiding Inter Milan to a famous treble 11 years ago.

The Portuguese was relieved of his managerial duties at Tottenham in late-April just days before the club were set to take on Manchester City in the League Cup final, which they subsequently lost under interim coach Ryan Mason.

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Now in the Eternal City, Mourinho will be looking to re-establish Roma as a Champions League-contending club, as well as trying to deliver silverware, something the Giallorossi have not achieved since 2008 after Francesco Totti inspired a Coppa Italia triumph.

However, Rossi, a coach familiar with the surroundings of the Stadio Olimpico and Roman customs given his four-year stint at Lazio between 2005 and 2009, believes Mourinho is at high risk of becoming the first managerial casualty of the new campaign.

When asked by TMW Radio who could be the first sacking of 2021/22: Rossi replied: “Mourinho, certainly, as I know what it’s like to work in Rome.

Delio Rossi in a press conference as Lazio manager in 2007

“I’d also say [Simone] Inzaghi, because it will not be easy for him at Inter.

“He’s picking up a squad that won the Scudetto and, comparing to his predecessor Antonio Conte, he at the very least needs to win something.”

Mourinho: You talk about titles, we talk about projects 

Eager to establish his authority at Roma and lay bare his intentions, Mourinho recently downplayed the prospect of winning immediate titles at his new club, instead insisting that he will focus on building a project, which should facilitate a greater chance of winning silverware.

He said: “You always talk about titles, we talk about the project and work. It would be easy to promise a title, but the reality is different.

“We talk about the project and about improving. You talk about titles, we talk about projects. The owners don’t want an isolated success, they want to get there and stay there, which is more difficult.

“It’s easy to win and have no money to pay salaries, but we want to be sustainable and the club and I share the same view. We’ll work and we’ll reach a title.”

On being compared to former Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte, Mourinho responded: “There are some coaches in the clubs’ history that you should never compare to others. For this club, don’t compare Capello or Liedholm to other coaches.

“For Inter, never compare others to Herrera or me, because you just can’t do that.

“Ronaldo should not be worried about me because I am not playing at centre-back. Had I played centre-back, I’d hit him, but unfortunately, I am not good enough and I am too old to play against him.”

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