Will Jose Mourinho's third season curse strike again at Roma?

Will Jose Mourinho’s third season curse strike again at Roma? The Special One’s side have been bereft of both structure and fitness in a miserable start to Serie A – tired and confused, the team reflect the coach

  • Jose Mourinho has previously struggled in his third season at former clubs
  • Roma are in bottom three in Serie A after earning one point in three matches
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off!

Jose Mourinho’s Roma have endured a miserable start to the Serie A season, with the Giallorossi occupying a place in the bottom three after earning a single point from their opening three matches.

Mourinho’s side had opened the season with a home draw against Salernitana, before suffering defeats against Hellas Verona and AC Milan. The slow start has led to concerns Mourinho’s third season curse could strike again.

The Portuguese coach was sacked by Manchester United and Chelsea – in his second spell – during his third season in charge.

Tensions had bubbled to the surface at the same stage during his initial period at Stamford Bridge and when he oversaw Real Madrid.

Mail Sport’s Alvise Cagnazzo reports from Italy on whether history could be about to repeat itself in the capital.

Jose Mourinho’s Roma side earned earned one point from their opening three matches

Roma occupy a place in the bottom three of Serie A following their 2-1 defeat to AC Milan

Mourinho is an isolated man who is at risk of compromising the final year of his contract with Roma.

His attitude is graceless, and he has so far been unable to find a reason for his teams’ poor start to the Serie A season. Just one point in the standings after three games, with six goals conceded and four scored.

The Giallorossi are already suffering a serious handicap to their rivals and Mourinho deserted his press conference press after his team’s latest meltdown against AC Milan. The head coach chose to remain silent in front of the microphones after the defeat against the Rossoneri.

Mourinho is a leader with great charisma but he runs the risk of turning into Nero, the emperor who set fire to Rome in a moment of madness. The Special One continues to get his tactical approach wrong and should rethink his current 3-5-2 set-up.

The 60-year-old is afraid to admit his mistakes and always finds a way to justify his actions. He bets a lot on his ideas but has difficulty recognising why his approach has proved unsuccessful in recent years.

Mourinho continues to persist with his tactical set-up despite Roma’s early season struggles

The Portuguese coach decided not to attend his post-match press conference against Milan

Anyone who was lucky enough to admire his teams in their first experiences at Porto and Chelsea, as well as treble winning spell at Inter, immediately recognises that there has been a collapse of aggression and organisation in the style of football adopted by Mourinho.

Losing Nemanja Matic, who asked for and secured a transfer to Rennes, has destroyed all balance in the Roma midfield and has put the defence under pressure.

After his failures of Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham, Mourinho’s downward spiral does not seem to have an end point. Sometimes he has brilliant ideas that seem to be able to save his career but most of the time he suffers from an identity crisis, which is slowly erasing the image he built in the first part of his career.

Mourinho has become even more solitary and grumpy, while he seems more fascinated by his future than by his present.

 Mourinho is hampered by injuries and a lack of organisation

Roma’s start to the season has been impacted by fitness problems to several of Mourinho’s key players.

Tammy Abraham and Marash Kumbulla are long-term absentees after serious knee injuries, while Sardar Azmoun, Renato Sanches, Paulo Dybala and Houssem Aouar have also suffered shorter-term issues.

Loan signing Romelu Lukaku’s debut against AC Milan had provided a boost to Roma, but Mourinho’s side suffered a 2-1 defeat with Leonardo Spinazzola’s goal proving only a consolation.

Mourinho is unable to rejuvenate his player’s muscles and lift their heads. The Roma boss continues to complain about the treatment he believes he and his side receive from referees.  

He feels persecuted, even if he isn’t, but he does suffer from having a weaker squad than Italy’s other top clubs.

The Friedkin family, Roma’s owners, do not possess the financial resources to challenge the best clubs in the world. But they have carried out an intelligent strengthening campaign in the transfer window.

In Lukaku, they have given Mourinho a top player who is looking to revitalise his career.

The loan signing of Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea should provide a boost to Mourinho

Mourinho’s Roma team, however, appear to be lacking both fitness and organisation

Mourinho can no longer react to adversity 

The disastrous defeat against 10-man AC Milan provided the perfect snapshot of the issues facing Roma. 

The Giallorossi lacking fitness and were at the mercy of their opponents for at least 60 minutes. 

Mourinho’s character seems to inhibit his players and allow the opposition to play with more serenity. 

The bad start to the season is his fault but the desire to escape from media scrutiny seems to have much deeper roots than anger over a deserved defeat. 

The real reason for Mourinho’s decision not to appear in front of the Italian media is not known, but is certainly a controversial reaction to the outcome of the match.

After the penalty scored by AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud, Mourinho offered a long and ironic applause, demonstrating his antipathy towards the officials.

Mourinho also quarreled with AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli, demonstrating his controversial way of managing his emotions which, ironically, always seems negatively impact him.

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The Roma head coach complained to the officials after AC Milan were awarded a penalty

Olivier Giroud’s spot kick helped AC Milan to secure a 2-1 win over Mourinho’s Roma side 

Mourinho had also clashed with his opposite number Stefano Pioli during the match

Roma have signed talented but fragile players 

Lukaku’s arrival is not enough to solve the problems running through the heart of the Roma team.

The club may have also underestimated the reasons that prompted PSG to sell Leandro Paredes and Juventus to decide against taking up their option following a loan last season.

Roma do not shoot on goal or make forward movements, while the isolated midfield seems to make Aourar and Paredes even slower on the pitch. The duo lack fast players around them who can offer changes of pace to Roma’s attack.

Fatigued, tired and above all confused, Roma seem to reflect the state of mind of their coach, who is in the last year of his contract.

Mourinho was satisfied with director Tiago Pinto for signing all the players indicated. 

Midfielder Leandro Paredes has struggled following his summer transfer from PSG

Chris Smalling, right, has failed to impress in defence during the opening games of the season

Aouar, Lukaku, Renato Sanches and Evan Ndicka are players of great depth but also of great physical fragility. 

Mourinho also voluntarily chose to sign attacking players when perhaps it would have been more appropriate to spend a lot of money to restructure the defence.

Centre backs Gianluca Mancini and Smalling have disappointed so far this season, but Mourinho placed the Roma ownership under strong pressure to strengthen up front with Azmoun and Lukaku.

This error of judgment could prove to be very serious and jeopardise his third season at the club.


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