Football Features

A career first, an ‘Olympico’ & mocking journalists: Jose Mourinho’s night gets ugly as Inter thrash Roma

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 19:30, 4 December 2021


Optimism was high when Roma appointed the much-travelled Jose Mourinho as head coach this past summer.

The Giallorossi ended last season in seventh and finished six points behind city rivals Lazio. This meant that for consecutive seasons the Biancocelesti were kings of Rome, something they last managed nearly a decade ago.

So, the powers that be reached out to Portugal’s most decorated coach, meaning the recently sacked Tottenham boss was making a Serie A homecoming. Mourinho previously won back-to-back Scudetto’s while managing Inter Milan and he left them after winning a historic treble.


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Given Mourinho’s recent struggles, many have started to wonder if the fire no longer burns. Those sentiments were kept a bay following a strong opening month, but they’ve since resurfaced and one can only wonder after their humiliating 0-3 loss at home against the Nerazzurri (which must hurt all the more, given Mourinho’s past connection).

Expecting him to open up soon after the full-time whistle screeched was expecting too much and Mourinho made as much known in his post-match news conference, reportedly telling a journalist: “Your job is a lot easier than ours which is why we earn a lot more than you.”

His snarky comment will understandably pour more fuel in the ‘Mourinho past his best’ fire; even before these comments this latest humbling defeat was newsworthy in more ways than one:

Behind at the break…

Mourinho seeing his side trailing at half-time is not a new phenomena; he made a habit of masterminding second-half comebacks throughout an illustrious two-decade long managerial career. However, never before had the Portuguese tactician been three goals behind by the break.

Inter, who came into this showdown having won three on the bounce, raced into a 0-3 lead before 40 minutes were played with Denzel Dumfries netting his first Inter goal in the process. It meant Mourinho had seen his team concede three uninterrupted goals before the break for the first time in a top-flight game.

It is also the joint-worst home defeat of his career, level with the 3-0 loss Manchester United suffered at against Spurs in August 2018.

Olympico

It was somewhat fitting the deadlock at the Stadio Olimpico was broken by Hakan Çalhanoğlu, who scored directly from a corner kick. This is also known as an ‘Olympico’ after Cesáreo Onzari’s effort for Argentina against Uruguay at the 1924 games.

Once the hapless Rui Patrico was beaten, it meant the Turkish international had now been involved in five goals (one assist and four goals) across his last five league games, which is as many as during the previous 15 Serie A matches.

Revenge of the Ex

You just knew that, with Edin Dzeko starting, the former Roma marksman would play a key role in today’s showdown. Having left the Italian capital for Milan, to fill Romelu Lukaku’s shoes, the Bosnian centre-forward had started his new life on fire having bagged seven goals in nine matches. Those strikes would dry up as Dzeko endured a six-game scoring drought. Until the 24th minute, that was, when he netted past his former club.

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It’s like buses

Before the visit of AC Milan on Halloween, no Serie A club had been able to visit a team coached by Mourinho and leave with all three points. Zlatan Ibrahimović and company put an end to his unbeaten streak when they eked out a 1-2 win. Roma made amends next time out at home when they beat Torino but Mourinho obviously couldn’t make it back-to-back wins this evening when meeting Inter the first time.

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