Today’s 1-0 loss to Bologna was an infuriating watch; I came close to turning it off several times but had to stay on for the benefit of all the CdTers out there. Roma’s good form heading into the match couldn’t stand up to the amazing performance of Lukasz Skorupski, and they got next to no help from the referees. As has become a theme for him while in Rome, José Mourinho was pretty defensive of his players following the loss. Here’s the transcript, with some returning #MiottosMusings:
Looking ahead to Saturday’s Inter match, which will not feature Tammy Abraham or Rick Karsdorp due to suspension:
“We have a game on Saturday and we will have to come up with a team for that one now. At least I took off Gianluca Mancini when I did, otherwise probably he would have got a yellow card too and missed the game with Inter. Congratulations to Bologna, to Sinisa, to the players – they fought hard and got the three points. Congratulations to them.”
Miotto’s Musing: I don't envy Steve for his job heading into Saturday's match; trying to figure out how Roma will lineup is going to be an exercise in futility. Mourinho basically admitted he’s got his work cut out for him ahead of the Inter match, and although there’ll always be the argument that players need to understand what a ref will call when they’re on any form of thin ice, it's still incredibly frustrating when referees will knowingly take key players out of key matches for next to no good reason. That Abraham yellow, for example? Complete garbage. Ugh. Next blurb, please.
On the performance of his own squad:
Well done to my players too, because once again they gave it their all even though they seemed to be up against everything and anything; injuries before the game, injuries during the game, ‘hidden’ injuries to players who played the full 90 minutes. Then there were a few incidents … but my players kept fighting.
I am always proud of these boys. Because even if we have lost, I don’t have a bitter taste about it. I stand behind them.
Miotto’s Musing: I've been really happy to see José Mourinho insist on defending most of his players despite the next levels of performances that we've seen so far in Serie A. Statements like these really make me think that Mourinho is here for the long-haul, and it's reassuring that despite this being Roma’s sixth loss of the season, he acknowledges that a lot of this came down to forces outside of Roma’s control. Of course, at some point, the excuses are going to run dry, and losses to clubs like Bologna won't be acceptable. We’re early enough in this project that despite this loss being very frustrating, the fact that Mourinho isn't causing a huge stink or dissing his players in public is a big win.
On Nicolò Zaniolo’s struggles in Serie A:
“I will finish with one observation. I want to say something that probably goes against my interests: if I were Nicolo Zaniolo, I would start thinking that perhaps playing in Serie A means things will be stacked against me.”
Miotto’s Musing: This is the dynamite quote from Mourinho's post-match presser, no question. I've been saying for months now that Nicolò Zaniolo has been getting a terrible deal from pretty much every Italian referee so far this season. When players at Milan, Juventus, or Lazio are able to rack up penalty after penalty, while Zaniolo is goalless in Serie A at least in part due to the referees never giving him an inch, you have to wonder what Nicolò did during his time off to screw with the referee’s union (or something). The fact that Mourinho is acknowledging this, and suggesting that Zaniolo, who is undoubtedly a star for both Roma and Italy, might need to leave Italy with the way he’s being refereed? I can’t think of a much stronger statement for him to make, both in support of his player and against the shoddy refereeing The Kid has received.
We’ll be discussing the Bologna match, Zaniolo’s struggles against the referees of Serie A, and more tonight on Across the Romaverse; definitely take the time to listen as soon as it’s available!