Jose Mourinho reiterates he is a ‘safe harbour’ for Roma players and thanks the fans for never turning ‘against the team’ even after what he admits is a ‘horrible’ start to the season.
With Diego Llorente joining Chris Smalling on the treatment table, Mourinho had to drop Bryan Cristante into central defence and it worked, keeping a clean sheet against Frosinone.
Paulo Dybala was the inventor, providing the assists for both Romelu Lukaku and Lorenzo Pellegrini goals in this 2-0 win to cut short the crisis talk.
“The first half we allowed a couple of good opportunities with a defensive line that is making do with a midfielder, but the unity of the team, the work of the two wing-backs, the huge effort of Bove and Paredes, while the forwards also helped off the ball,” Mourinho told DAZN.
“It was a real team, and that is something I always like, against a side that has nothing to do with Serie B. Frosinone have a lot of quality, I liked them when analysing them in the build-up and I liked them today.”
Lukaku has scored four goals in his first five Serie A games for Roma and Mourinho joked about the media turning on him.
“I thought that I could be held responsible for Lukaku not scoring! At the very least, nobody can accuse me of that, because Romelu keeps scoring. He scores here, he scores at Manchester United, at Inter. Romelu scores everywhere.
“Fortunately, I am not a coach who can remove Romelu’s qualities.”
This follows the press conference on Saturday when Mourinho complained that there was talk about him being ‘the problem’ at Roma just months after turning down a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia.
“I explained yesterday. Three months ago, I was loved. I was wanted. I created panic with the idea I might leave. Now three months later after what I will admit is a horrible start to the season in terms of results, but which has many factors behind it…
“I knew that whether we won or not today, we would show that we are friends, we are a team, we are united. I am very, very happy that they won the game, because when you lose the way we did midweek, it is not easy. You must be emotionally balanced and have the right mentality to get on that pitch.
“Having said that, we never felt that the fans were against the team. The support when we were on the bus and in the stadium was extraordinary.
“I want to thank them, because some lads might’ve felt shaken if there had been a different reception, but the fans treated us as if we had won in Genoa. So I must thank them for that.”
Notably, Mourinho went with his squad to salute the away fans after the defeat to Genoa, but this evening he let them take the applause by themselves.
“This is what I am like. I have always been a safe harbour in difficult moments, I stood to one side and let them take their photos.”
Club owners Dan and Ryan Friedkin were in the stands at the Stadio Olimpico tonight, but the coach again shrugs off questions about what comes next.
“You keep talking about future, that is not something I need to worry about, my future is the promise I made until June 30. A coach must respect the club owners and not comment on anything. I am happy for them that we won today, because obviously the owners want to win.
“I work for them, I work for the Roma fans and I work for the players. When we do well, I am happy.”
However, Mou could not resist another swipe at the lack of strength in depth at Roma, who are badly hamstrung by the Financial Fair Play parameters.
“I was watching Juve today, when Bremer got hurt and Allegri introduced Rugani, I thought you are lucky, Max. We do not have Smalling or Llorente for Thursday. It might be a miracle if we see one of them for the next game against Cagliari, but we’ll see.
“Renato Sanches is missed too, but we must wait and make do with what we’ve got.”