Mancini gives lengthy interview about Mourinho, Derby della Capitale and more

Andy Mattioli

Roma defender Gianluca Mancini has cemented himself as the team’s vice-captain under Jose Mourinho, with Roma reportedly looking to extend his contract until 2026.

The 25-year-old recently gave an interview to Il Messaggero where he spoke about Mourinho, the Derby della Capitale, Tammy Abraham, Nicolo Zaniolo, and more.

““First day of training: Mourinho gathers us in front of a giant screen and points out a tactical situation from the past that we will never repeat. Here, there I understood who we were in front of and I lit up.”

“From that moment we went from one to one thousand. Staring at the image of that mistake, he immediately established a stake and a starting point.”

On the possibility of renewing with the club:

“It’s not a priority but I see myself being at Roma for a long time. I feel good here.”

On whether he expects to win something at the club:

“Vito Scala often tells me about the Scudetto. I would like to experience certain emotions here.”

“We are a young team. We are building.”

On Mourinho:

“He is a leader. Raises the bar for everyone. You meet his gaze and immediately you want to give more. We are fortunate to have him. When they announced him, we were thrilled.”

On his leadership, both under Fonseca and Mourinho:

“It is a beautiful word, which remains just a word if you don’t act like it. I am someone who likes to talk about tactical issues, about football. But then the facts, the examples count. If the team follows me, I am happy because it is something that I have earned.”

On Pellegrini having a voice inside the locker room:

“He manages the locker room more than anybody else, he talks a lot with younger players. Then there is Bryan, the silent leader.”

“When we see wrong attitudes we try to correct them with behaviors. Without forgetting the work of our coach: you know his history, it is also normal that you let yourself be carried away by him.”

On this team’s chances of winning:

“Calm. We have to be calm and if we lose games we have to be good at reacting, as we did recently. Then the offensive and defensive situations improve, the more time you stay with the coach, the more things will grow.”

“But Roma are not Scudetto contenders. From now until Christmas we play a lot. And it’s not just about winning head-to-head matches: if we beat Juve and Napoli and lose against Cagliari, it makes no sense. We need to find balance.”

On what advice he’d give to Nicolo Zaniolo:

“Nicolò is a little brother, we were at Fiorentina and both of us were sent away. These injuries have matured him, he has had a spurt, he has grown, I see him more as a man now.”

“This year I caught a glimpse of another guy, not because he was bad before, but he is more responsible. The gesture in the derby? Always better to avoid, but he has also been attacked many times, we are human beings.”

On team he was a fan of growing up:

“Inter. Like all of my family. Now we’re all Romanisti.”

On what went wrong for Fonseca:

“In the first half of both seasons we played very well, then, after the winter break, we would just dissolve. No explanation for it. Players’ mistakes and coach’s.”

On the environment of Rome:

“Rome is a warm and demanding place and it has to be like that. We lost a derby, we went under the Curva Sud and they welcomed us with applause. It is normal for a city with so many inhabitants to put this much pressure on you.”

“When I enter the stadium and see that warmth, the enthusiasm, I think it’s a beautiful thing, a thrill, not a problem. We must be good at not listening to those who want to cut us off from certain chatter.”

On him being a fan-favorite:

“When I go around the city I get a lot of affection and it’s beautiful. If I play football with friends I rejoice in the same way, I am myself on the pitch.”

On getting too many cards:

“Not too many so far this year: one in seven games. The other years, many, very true.”

“Concentration is everything, you have to keep it ninety-five minutes. My mistakes come when I lower my attention. For someone like me, who was not born with Nesta’s talent, there is only one solution: to work on myself, on character.”

On what game he feels the most when playing for Roma:

“I made my debut with Roma in a derby, I had a stomach ache, you feel it more than the others, you represent Rome and you play with your city rival.”

On the switch from Dzeko to Abraham up front:

“It was time for a change. On the pitch we will be opponents, the relationship remains outside the pitch. Abraham has impressive skills, quality and will to win. A nice thing to see, he has a great future ahead of him.”

On being excluded from Euro 2020 by Roberto Mancini:

“It hurt a lot, I felt down for a few days. Then, the holidays, the family and that feeling left me. And I cheered for the team. I hope that my time with the Azzurri is not over, I’m aiming for the World Cup.”

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