Jose Mourinho reflects on the 4-1 loss to Genoa and acknowledges that this season has seen the worst start of his career.
The former Manchester United manager adds, however, that it also marks a historic achievement for Roma as they’ve managed to reach two consecutive European Finals. The Giallorossi have struggled in Serie A, securing just one victory in the entire season so far.
After six rounds, they currently sit in 16th place with only five points, placing them closer to the relegation zone than the European qualification spots.
This dismal start surpasses even the seven points he earned at Chelsea during the 2015-16 campaign.
“We started badly, that is true, the goal was an ugly one to concede. So was the one we conceded in the opening minutes in Verona,” continued Mourinho.
“There was a reaction, we equalised, but then immediately Diego Llorente got injured and the structure of the team changed, for the worse.
“With Mancini on a yellow card and the profile of this referee, we considered it right to take him off, so we changed the structure again.
“When our goal was ruled offside, we felt from the touchline that we were about to equalise, Genoa were sitting deep, we were dominating even without creating many great opportunities. Our changes were all attacking moves, but obviously at their third goal it was over.
“Sometimes it can become a total and utter disaster in these situations, conceding five or six. The fourth goal for me was out of the context of the game.”
Roma’s great strength last season was their defensive solidity, even when the goals were not flowing, but that seems to have been lost this year.
“It is true. I don’t want to say many things, but people talked about the Roger Ibanez errors that became almost iconic in the big games, but the truth is he gave us incredible solidity.
“We lost Chris Smalling, you can see how many games we won without Chris. When we are missing those players, we lack solidity.
“However, to say we lost the solidity because we are missing this or that player is not fair either. Solidity is also the consequence of team spirit and collective work to track back. We have lost some of that.
“At the moment, every shot we allow is a goal. That is nothing against Rui, it is just the situation we are seeing. Torino had a Duvan Zapata header in the first minute then never got near us until the equaliser on a throw-in.
“I feel this from the touchline and I imagine the players feel that anxiety on the pitch too.”
This is also the worst Roma start to a season in the three points for a win era.
“It is the worst of my career too. However, I also think it is the first time that Roma have played two European Finals in a row.”
Mourinho got increasingly irritable as the interview went on, especially when asked about the many injuries that Roma have been dealing with, losing Diego Llorente today.
“Did you ask Gilardino the same question, or just to those who lost the game? These are the consequences of the fixture list. They played 48 hours before we did and lost two players to muscular problems today.
“I think I saw yesterday five players went off with muscular problems in Serie A. Today Llorente is a player who has a history of muscular injuries, he played three games in a week, so it is not a huge surprise for me.”
Is this Roma squad strong enough to turn the situation around? “It is the squad we have and with this squad we must emerge from this situation. There is no more transfer window, nobody can leave or arrive, this is the group we have with its qualities and its problems.
“We have no time to cry. We can cry internally, because it hurts our heart, especially for me because of my rapport with the Roma fans. But tomorrow we will be back at work. The next game is worth three points, not seven or eight, but it becomes a very, very important match for us.”