Jose Mourinho has never been one to shy away from telling us how he really feels, even if it’s set to land him in a spot of bother – Roma have learnt that all too well this season.
The Special One has endured a tough start to his third season in the Italian capital after back-to-back European finals in his first two seasons with the Giallorossi.
Arriving in Rome in 2021, his reputation inevitably tarnished and ego bruised after what was, in retrospect, an incredibly bizarre stint at Tottenham, he had the bit between his teeth once again.
Football might have left him behind somewhat in terms of competing with the very elite in management these days, but Mourinho was desperate to prove he could still deliver against the odds – and he did.
In his first season, he guided Roma to their first major European honour and their first trophy in over a decade, winning the inaugural Europa Conference League and giving us all plenty of fluid to inject into our veins by celebrating the fact he was now the only manager to win all of UEFA’s European competitions like a man possessed.
He then guided them to the final of the Europa League a season later – on a shoestring budget – only to be undone by Sevilla on penalties. And that’s where it all started to feel a little bit shaky.
The glorious second season with Mourinho ended on a sour note, and the dreaded third season was still to come. Oh dear.
It’s been far from plain sailing since the 2023-24 campaign kicked off, but what it’s certainly not lacked when observing Roma from the outside is the entertainment factor.
For all the tactical nouse Mourinho might be lacking these days, he makes up for it with his ever-improving anti-hero character, absurd touchline outbursts and box office behaviour wherever he goes with his side.
One thing you can’t say about him is that he doesn’t care.
The Portuguese coach would rather die than lose a game of football. He feels every point dropped like a bullet to his chest. So when his side masterminded a hard-fought victory to snatch all three points at the very death against 10-man Monza, you better believe he celebrated that injury-time winner like it was his last day on earth.
Having peppered Monza’s goal for the majority of the game, especially in the second half following Danilo D’Ambrosio’s dismissal, it looked like everything was against Roma and the footballing Gods had sentenced them to a sixth Serie A game without victory this season.
That was until Stephan El-Shaarawy was alive in the box and bludgeoned a dropping ball into the back of the net with a ferocious low volley, sending Roma fans behind the goal crazy and dropping Mourinho to his knees.
Wholesome scenes – until Mourinho remembered who he was and what he stood for. The pinnacle of p*ss-boiling.
We will never, ever grow tired of Don Jose dishing it out. More red cards than we've had hot dinners. Absolute hero.pic.twitter.com/Ljj1K5m2yW
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) October 22, 2023
After dropping to the floor and celebrating his side’s winner like his life depended on it, the Special One swiftly returned to his feet, regained composure and headed straight for Monza manager Rafaelle Palladino.
Mimicking tears, Mourinho pretended to wipe his eyes while remarking to his opposite number that he cries a lot and talks too much.
For his actions, he was shown a straight red card and marched himself down the tunnel accordingly. Absolutely magnificent sh*thousery. You can’t help but laugh.
This wasn’t just an unprovoked attack, though. The best villains have a motive for their revenge.
Mourinho was furious with officials as Monza held Roma to a 1-1 draw back in May and made his feelings known, which Palladino took aim at after the game, describing Mourinho and his bench as ‘outrageous’.
What is outrageous, Rafaelle, is revenge. Sweet, sweet revenge. Don Jose might forgive, but he never forgets.
Palladino might well win the war and from a moral standpoint he avoided a red card, but Mourinho certainly won the battle this time.
The red card was merely the icing on the cake of an exceptionally sweet game of Mourinho bingo – a game incredibly close to our hearts.
Never change, Jose.
By Mitch Wilks