Jose Mourinho, who has just been sacked by the Italian club AS Roma, is a once great manager on his last legs. The football his teams play is terrible, the results so-so, and his increasingly erratic behaviour on the touchline altogether disgraceful.
Mourinho has gone from fighting for league titles and Champions Leagues to waging war on officials and opposing teams. His sacking had an air of inevitability. Roma’s American owners, the Friedkin Group, thanked Mourinho ‘for his passion and efforts’. Tellingly though, the owners stated that they felt ‘an immediate change’ was ‘in the best interests of the club’. Good riddance, in other words.
Who can blame the owners for judging that Mourinho’s time was up? Roma are languishing a lowly 9th in Serie A. Last week, they were dumped out of the Coppa Italia by their city-rivals Lazio. Last Sunday, they lost 3-1 to AC Milan. Mourinho was forced to watch the match from the stands because he was serving yet another suspension for his latest outburst against match officials.
In all, Roma have won just eight of their past 20 matches in Serie A this season. Something had to give. It was a bitter end to a relationship between coach and club that has started promisingly enough.
Mourinho took charge of Roma in 2021, and led the club to their first trophy in 14 years by winning the Europa Conference League in 2022. Prime Mourinho would have looked down his nose at this competition but no longer. Even so, he could only hope to survive on such momentary glory for so long. Speculation had been growing recently about his position, with his contract due to expire at the end of this season.