Roma defender Chris Smalling recently spoke to BBC and shared his thoughts on reuniting with José Mourinho, whom he played for in Manchester United between 2016 and 2018.
The English center-back explained what makes Mourinho special:
“He is a born winner. He likes to push everyone to the limits. That is what he has done throughout his career and it has reaped results.”
When asked about the tension between the two at Manchester United, he dismissed this by saying:
“I knew the media would build up something about our relationship in the past. But from a personal point of view, it is a good thing because I have played under him.”
He continued by recalling some of their highlights together in England.
“We have won trophies together. He made me captain in one of those finals – the 2017 EFL Cup final – as well, so having the chance to play under someone who you know is good, has been so successful and is so determined to win trophies at all costs is a positive.”
The 31-year-old also explained what this appointment means for Roma going forward.
”I know how big a deal it would be to bring a trophy of some sort to the club. Jose’s history shows the club has picked the perfect man to do that.”
After speaking about Mourinho at length, the Englishman jokingly recalled the feeling upon entering the Roma locker-room following England’s loss in the Euro final against Italy.
”I knew I would have to face the music. On Monday a lot of people were quite respectful because they knew I would be disappointed. But now it has started to settle. Spinazzola came in on his crutches and gave me a bit of stick. Thankfully he kept his medal away.”
Finally, Smalling touched upon his absence during the majority of last season and expressed his belief in the future of the club under Mourinho.
“For large parts of the last two seasons, we were very consistent and weren’t far off. Now it is about having the mentality of making sure when we do go through those tough times, and maybe we aren’t quite creating enough chances, we need to stick together. Now it is about finding that consistency. Hopefully with Jose and his staff we do that because it is such a great club.”
“There is a good feeling around the club. All the foundations are there. It is just a case of bringing it all together now.”