Inside Jose Mourinho’s Roma revolution: Faith in £34m Tammy Abraham to fill the Edin Dzeko void, clearing the air with Henrikh Mkhitaryan after their fall-out and making the fans fall for their ‘new Pope’ with a promise of winning
- Jose Mourinho begins life as Roma manager against Fiorentina on Sunday night
- He has been backed heavily in the transfer market as they target the top four
- Mourinho has backed £34m new boy Tammy Abraham to replace Edin Dzeko
- He has also held clear the air talks with Henrikh Mkhitaryan after their fall-out
- Described as the ‘new Pope’, Mourinho has already won the hearts of Roma fans
Jose Mourinho starts life as the manager of Roma in Serie A with a difficult opening day clash against Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday night.
It will be his first competitive game since leaving Tottenham earlier this year and he will be hoping to get off to the perfect start as he bids to get Roma back into the Champions League.
Mourinho has already had a major impact in the ‘Eternal City’. He has signed Tammy Abraham from Chelsea for £34million and proven to be a hit with supporters, who are desperate for success.
Here, Sportsmail looks at how Mourinho has spent the summer trying to transform the club as they kick off their campaign this weekend.
Jose Mourinho starts life as the manager of Roma against Fiorentina in Serie A on Sunday
An upgrade on Fonseca
Rome is a city surrounded in history and political jostling and Mourinho is seen as the perfect man to build a new empire on the Sampietrini.
Mourinho is already considered to be better than predecessor Paulo Fonseca in managing a squad of star names during difficult times.
Mourinho knows he will be without Leonardo Spinazzola for the first few months of the season after the Achilles problem he suffered at Euro 2020 but he has told his team to fully focus on their performances so the Italian’s absence isn’t too harmful.
Mourinho is already considered better than predecessor Paulo Fonseca in managing during difficult times
The 58-year-old’s greatest attribute is knowing how to speak to and motivate his players, which was a huge problem for Fonseca.
Mourinho is smart, intelligent and above all is willing and able to protect his team in moments of difficulty. His brand of football is not easy on the eye but Mourinho is a winner.
In that sense he is compared in Italy to former England manager Fabio Capello, who in Rome won a historic Scudetto.
Roma have chosen an experience head on the bench but Mourinho knows he has work to do to salvage his reputation after tough times at Tottenham and Manchester United.
Placing faith in Abraham
Abraham completed his £34m move to Roma earlier this week and the English striker is considered to be the ideal player to revive the club’s ambitions.
Mourinho has spent a lot of money in the transfer market this summer – more than rivals AC Milan, Inter, Napoli and Juventus – as he plans to launch an assault on the Champions League places. It highlights Roma’s lofty ambitions.
Abraham has great physical and technical qualities and he should be targeting at least 15 goals in Serie A in his debut campaign.
That figure is definitely within the reach of a young striker who has experienced exciting moments in the Premier League.
Tammy Abraham will lead the line for Roma after completing his £34m move from Chelsea
Roma needed to replace veteran Edin Dzeko and signed a striker Mourinho rates highly. He is young, determined and has plenty of experience already, despite his age.
Compared to the Bosnian, Abraham is faster and much more mobile, which is key for the way Mourinho wants his Roma team to play.
Abraham has already chosen the No 9 shirt, which in Rome has a very important value because it was worn by Abel Balbo, Gabriel Batistuta and Vincenzo Montella.
In Rome everyone is already affectionately calling him ‘Tammy’ and there is a huge spotlight on him. Abraham is the only name Mourinho wanted at the centre of his Roma attack and it’s hoped his Premier League experience will help him seamlessly slot in in Italy.
Giving the capital belief once more
Mourinho seems to have already won the hearts of Roma supporters, earning the nickname ‘the new Pope’.
Not dressed in white but in the colours of the Giallorossi, he is the star of the show who has the unenviable task of giving a city that lives and breathes football hope that they can challenge for trophies again.
Mourinho was depicted in a mural in the historic Testaccio district of Rome aboard a ‘Special One’ Vespa
Locals are constantly talking about Mourinho. Whether it be in front of newsstands, on the Piazza Navona or in front of the Trevi Fountain, every corner of the city is excited by the arrival of Mourinho and what his Roma team will look like.
Ever single district of the city is starting to fly Roma flags and fans are starting to rediscover their love for Roma, who have left the fans hugely disappointed in recent seasons.
At 16 Birra brewery, in Via di Porta Furba, fans can enjoy a taste of the ‘Specialone’ IPA while the ‘Pizza Mourinho’ has already been created by a local restaurant.
Mourinho was also depicted in a mural in the historic Testaccio district of Rome aboard a ‘Special One’ Vespa with a scarf in Roma’s iconic colours around his neck.
He has also been the focus of a new painting exhibited in the Rione Monti, which depicts the Special One as a saint of the Catholic Church on a yellow and red background on Via Urbana.
At long last, Mourinho appears to finally be recovering that media appeal that he had lost in recent years after several disappointments in English football.
Desperate for success now
Roma’s recent Serie A campaigns have showed they are a good team but still have work to do if they are to challenge the likes of Juventus and Inter for the title.
It will be up to the ‘Special One’ to be able to harness the passion of the city and transform it into energy for the club to thrive off.
He will want ample freedom of communication and will have to do everything to try to help the club return to the summit after years of disappointment.
Mourinho has a talented group at Roma but they are someway off challenging for the title
The Friedkin family, the Roma owners, have bet big on him and now hope their decision to hire Mourinho and spend big in the transfer market will bring the club back to the top.
Roma are definitely a candidate for a place in the top four but face competition from the likes of Atalanta, AC Milan, Napoli and Lazio.
A return to the Champions League is essential, however, if the club are to obtain more financial resources to improve for the future.
Mourinho and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have buried the hatchet after the tension when they were both at Manchester United
Clear the air talks with Mkhitaryan
Not only has Mourinho brought in some exciting new players this summer but he’s also tried to build bridges with his existing stars.
Last month Henrikh Mkhitaryan insisted he has buried the hatchet with his new boss after friction between the pair when they were both at Manchester United.
The Armenian had previously spoken of ‘differences and conflicts’ between himself and the Portuguese manager when at Old Trafford but Mkhitaryan, who has decided to stay at the club despite several offers, insisted that is now in the past
He told Corriere dello Sport: ‘What happened in Manchester stays there. We spoke as mature people, we both want to go down the same path, we both want to win something with Roma and that is the only thing that matters this year.’
Mkhitaryan, 32, agreed a one-year contract extension in July after his chat with Mourinho. He enjoyed a successful 2020-21 campaign, scoring 15 goals and adding 13 assists.
‘I had no doubts. But I wanted to have a fresh head to make the best decision. I had other offers, in Italy and abroad, but the right decision was to stay,’ he added.
The Armenian played for 18 months under Mourinho when at the Old Trafford club
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