Mourinho has traditionally found success in his second season at a club, and there are reasons to think more could happen in the Italian city.
One of José Mourinho’s many catchphrases from his brilliant career still rings in people’s ears. He was inducted into the Banter Hall of Fame for his memorable soundbites introducing himself as “The Special One” and “not Harry Potter,” but in 2018 with Manchester United, following an early-season setback to Spurs, he issued a measure to his career.
With his characteristic haughtiness, Mourinho remarked, “Hegel says, ‘The truth is in the totality.'”
The soundbite provided an answer to the question of whether he could still be considered “one of the best managers in the world” by citing Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, one of the foundational fathers of western philosophy. His argument was that when evaluating a profession, consider the complete picture and not just one photo.
Since winning the 2016–17 Europa League, Mourinho has gone the greatest period of time in his career without winning a trophy, raising concerns about when such a tumultuous moment will turn into the complete picture. However, following a good start and a sixth-place finish at AS Roma the previous season, it is his second campaign in the Italian capital that may provide more light on how such a pronouncement pertains to his professional life.
While sports stars are cursed with the sophomore slump, Mourinho’s success has been largely determined by his second season. In his second season with a club, the Portuguese manager has won the league title five times: once with Porto in 2003–04, once with Chelsea in 2005–06, once with Inter Milan in 2009–10, once with Real Madrid in 2011–12, and once with Chelsea once more in 2014–15. Of course, it’s not a guarantee. Exciting periods with Manchester United and Tottenham weren’t as great as expected.
But with the first-ever UEFA Europa Conference League title, AS Roma won its first trophy in 13 years, giving Giallorossi supporters hope for the forthcoming year. As Roma pursues its fourth Scudetto and first since 2000-01, hope starts to give way to excitement when a successful transfer window is added to the equation.
When the team unveiled star acquisition Paulo Dybala to more than 10,000 supporters at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, now the site of the Fendi headquarters, there was evident excitement in the air. Then, a reliable midfielder named Georginio Wijnaldum joined on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.
These excellent arrivals, together with a Nemanja Mati favorite and Lille right defender Zeki elik, give Roma a depth that hasn’t been seen since the team’s last Serie A championship, which was won by a group of players that included Francesco Totti, Cafu, and Gabriel Batistuta. Leonardo Spinazzola, who missed the most of the previous season due to an Achilles injury after being selected for the Euros Team of the Tournament, has also made a full recovery.
While a coach like Mourinho may have been able to entice players like Dybala and Wijnaldum to his Roma project, another Roma star seems to have remained at the Stadio Olimpico. Italian news outlets claim that this summer, Spurs and offensive midfielder Nicol Zaniolo, 23, had an agreement in place before Mourinho intervened to scuttle the deal. And if the ruling stands, it might be a game-changer in Roma’s forthcoming season.
During Roma’s ascent to the Europa Conference League triumph, Zaniolo said to UEFA.com that “Mourinho is one of the best coaches in the world.” “He taught us all the value of never giving up, always giving our best effort, and working together for a common goal…. We have more prospects with a winning manager, in my opinion.
Zaniolo’s game-winning goal in the Europa Conference League triumph over Feyenoord earned Mourinho his first trophy in five years and made him 5-for-5 in European championships. Winning a tournament that was only formed in 2021, however, is nothing compared to the difficulties and excitement of winning Serie A.
After breaking an 11-year title drought, defending champion AC Milan kicks off the season on Saturday in one of the two season-opening games (Sampdoria-Atalanta is the other). However, after falling two points short of a second consecutive championship, its crosstown rival Inter now seems to be the clear favorite. Romelu Lukaku, André Onana, and versatile forward Joaqun Correa were all signed by Inter in the summer, raising expectations for the team to win the championship.
Then, in what appears to be a fiercely tough battle for the top four, there are giants like Juventus and Napoli to contend with. While Juventus made splashes for Paul Pogba, Angel Di Maria, and Bremer while clearing out hefty contracts and fading stars weighing down the club, Napoli lost crucial players in Dries Mertens and Kalidou Koulibaly.
However, Serie A continues to be the division that best utilizes Mourinho’s abilities as a defensive and tactical genius. After all, he led an Italian team to its last Triple Crown as a manager (2010–11 Inter Milan). His 43-game home winning streak in Serie A, which came to an end against AC Milan last year, was the longest in almost three decades. Roma isn’t at the top of the preseason title race, but it would be crazy to write the Giallorossi out for an incredible run.
Mourinho gave a contemplative contemplation during the preseason that may have served to best capture the essence of his legacy rather than being reduced to his most famous soundbites and rants.
“If you don’t love football and you do everything there is to accomplish in football, you just give up and take pride in your awards. And you enjoy your life away from football,” Mourinho said in a recent interview with Sky Sports.
However, if you enjoy playing football, you won’t want to stop. If you enjoy watching football, you won’t notice your aging. You have a youthful, new feeling that lasts right up until the end. As a result, motivation is genetic.
Imagine Mourinho’s reaction if he cried over the Europa Conference League last season. How would he feel if he won the Serie A? In reality, it would serve as a suitable remembrance of the original José Mourinho rather than the erratic bully who lost his cool and damaged relationships during his previous two employment.
In essence, it might very well expose the reality behind the Special One tale as a whole.
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