In recent years, the downfall of both AS Roma and Italian football has been well documented. But over the last two years, Italy’s brand of Calcio has begun to improve. And some could say that the recent renaissance could be dated back to May 4th, 2021, and the arrival of a certain ‘Special One’.
Jose Mourinho’s time in charge of the Giallorossi couldn’t have gone much better. In his maiden campaign with the club last season, the iconic Portuguese manager led the club to its first-ever European trophy with victory in the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League. He also secured Europa League qualification, one step up from the competition he won last season. This season, his side is competing for a return to the Champions League, and they are also continental contenders once again.
Italy and Roma’s Renaissance
Italy has a plethora of teams still competing for continental honors. Napoli, AC Milan and Inter Milan have reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League, the first time three Italian teams have reached that stage in 17 years. In the Europa League, only Feyenoord – the team Roma beat to secure silverware last term – and the winner of the clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Belgian outfit Union Saint-Gilloise stand between Jose Mourinho and a second consecutive European final.
Many thought that when Mourinho was brought to the Stadio Olimpico that the club was taking a massive risk. The Special One had been unceremoniously fired from his last two jobs in England and many wondered have far his stock had fallen. But as those that like to try out online pokies in Australia will tell you, occasionally one can hit it big when gambling and that is exactly what has happened within the AS Roma hierarchy.
Roma is a club on the rise, and they are significantly stronger now than they were when Mourinho was appointed as manager. Big-name players such as Paulo Dybala, Andrea Belotti, Georginio Wijnaldum, Nemanja Matić and Rui Patrício have all joined the club, and the results have followed. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the best results since Jose Mourinho was appointed as manager of the Giallorossi.
Roma 1-0 Juventus – March 5th, 2023
Throughout Jose Mourinho’s brief time in charge at the Stadio Olimpico, AS Roma have only known pain against Juventus. Last season, they were narrowly defeated in Turin by a solitary Moise Kean goal to nil. They then self-destructed in the chaotic reverse fixture in the Italian capital, throwing away a 3-1 lead in seven minutes of madness in which Manuel Locatelli, Dejan Kulusevski and Mattia De Sciglio all netted to give the visitors victory.
This season, however, they managed to turn a corner. They picked up their first point against the Bianconeri under Jose Mourinho earlier in the season thanks to Tammy Abraham’s late equaliser. The reverse fixture would take place back in March, and many of the Romani in attendance were hopeful for their first victory against the Old Lady in seven Serie A attempts.
Those hopes would go on to be realized courtesy of a second-half thunderbolt from defender Gianluca Mancini. Roma were good value for the victory as well, and were the better team all evening, up until some late pressure from the visitors threatened to steal a goal and a share of the spoils. In the end, however, Mourinho’s men held on for a momentous victory, and one which will be looked back upon with fondness should the club go on to secure Champions League qualification.
Roma 1-0 Feyenoord – May 25th, 2022
As we eluded to earlier, Roma will meet Feyenoord once again in the quarterfinals of the Europa League. Last season, the duo squared off to contest the final of the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League in Tirana, Albania. And we were treated to another Jose Mourinho masterclass.
For many years, both fans and pundits alike have criticized Jose Mourinho for his perceived negative, ‘anti-football’ tactics. But there can be no arguing that that style of play certainly gets results. Especially in Europe.
Over the years, Jose Mourinho has contested five European finals, and he has won them all. He led FC Porto to UEFA Cup glory back in 2003, before shocking the world as they lifted the Champions League the following season. He then led an ageing Inter Milan side to victory in the 2010 UEFA Champions League, before securing another Europa League triumph with Manchester United in 2017.
He headed into last year’s Conference League final with the opportunity to become the first – and currently only – man to secure all three of European football’s elite club trophies. And he relied on his side’s staunch defense to secure the crown.
Feyenoord were appearing in a European final for the first time in two decades. With a talented young team having the likes of Marcos Senesi, Tyrell Malacia, Guus Til, Luis Sinisterra and Reiss Nelson, any expected their technical ability to lead them to victory. And on the night, they were perhaps the better team.
However, they hadn’t banked on the staunchness of the side that Mourinho had built. Nicolò Zaniolo’s goal gave Roma an early lead, and then the Italians were happy to sit back and soak up pressure for the rest of the match. That’s exactly what they did, and the Dutch side never managed to find an equaliser, allowing the Giallorossi to celebrate a maiden European title long into the Albanian evening.