Jose Mourinho criticises Roma for forcing him to be ‘more than a coach’ and sacking him after two European Finals, but does ‘not regret’ turning down Portugal.

The Special One was sacked by the Giallorossi in mid-January, much to his visible chagrin after weeks of declaring he wanted to extend his contract, which was due to expire on June 30 anyway.

The team has gone from strength to strength since replacement Daniele De Rossi took charge, while Mou has been linked with numerous roles, above all in Saudi Arabia and the Premier League.

“I’m ready to start, and sometimes when you end at a club, you feel the need of a rest, of a think, to process things. In this case, one day after I left, I was ready to go,” Mourinho told Fabrizio Romano.

“I feel strong, I feel good, I love the work. I’m really ready, but I don’t want to make the wrong choice. I cannot accept something just because of the feeling and pressure to be back. I need to be patient.

“Normally, it is very, very difficult to start in March or April, so my objective is to start in the summer.”

The Portuguese coach won the Conference League with Roma in 2022, then reached the Europa League Final in 2023, so feels that should’ve insulated him from dismissal.

“It looked like this didn’t happen, because when people speak about me normally, they are more focused on what happened 15, 8, 20 years ago.

“There are so many great coaches in Europe and normally the great coaches are coaching the best teams with more possibilities of getting into Finals. In the last years I got to three Finals, one with Manchester United and two with Roma.

“If we look only the last two years, I am the only one with two European Finals. So I look at it with a little bit of fun, but at the same time with some pride, because especially with a club without history in Europe, you realise it was really something special.

“This season I am not going to play a Final, but I hope next year to be the only one to make three Finals in four years.”

Roma fans adored Mourinho throughout his tenure, but he repeatedly complained that there was no figure who was standing up for what he perceived to be unfair treatment from the media and the authorities.

His comments also felt like lashing out yet again at former Roma director of sport Tiago Pinto.

“They sense I give everything. Because of my personality, in the end I am always going to be more than a coach. In some club structures, you have to be the coach, then the technical director, then the communication director, then the image that defends the club, the players and that is something that people realise.

“But at the same time, it is something that a coach doesn’t like. What I want to be is a coach. The ideal scenario is when the club has a structure that allows the coach to be the coach, on the pitch, the training ground, the dressing room, the touchline.

“I was the coach at Inter, I was the coach at Real Madrid, I was the coach in my first spell at Chelsea. I was the coach at Porto. In some other clubs, I was not the coach.

“That is very difficult for a coach. But at every football club where I work, they see I wear the shirt and I fight for them.”

Mourinho said he turned down massive proposals so he could stick to his commitment at Roma.

“I had the door open twice with Portugal, please come and the place is yours. Once when I was at Real Madrid and the objective was to be the Portugal coach in a part-time role. I realised when the President Florentino Perez said it was not possible, it was the end of that.

“The second time, do I regret not taking it, because I was sacked a few months later at Roma? I do not regret. Because the reason I did not accept, I’m happy with the reason. So I don’t regret.

“If you tell me before the World Cup, the Euros, the Copa America, the African Cup to coach a national team, I say yes. But two years of waiting, I’m not sure I would enjoy it.”

As for the lucrative Saudi Pro League, that was another job that Mourinho turned down because he was under contract at Roma.

“Cristiano Ronaldo opened the door for that league. Of course, the offer was economically important, but I refused because Roma, European football, objectives, commitment were more important to me.

“If you ask me in the future, experience has taught me to say never say never. I am in Saudi to watch boxing, Formula 1, meet with friends, I am not here to sign any contract.

“I have time until the end of the season to make the right decision for me.”

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