Jose Mourinho has only spoken to Sky Sports about Manchester United, his relationship with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and the development of Chris Smalling, planning for his second year at Rome and his future following links with Newcastle.
Roma will face Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League showpiece on May 25 after beating Leicester in the semi-final. Roma have not won a European competition in 50 years, since beating Blackpool in the 1972 Anglo-Italian Cup but Mourinho is now looking to complete the set after his previous Champions League and Europa League victories.
While in Italy covering Europa League action, Sky Sports’ Gary Cotterill spent some time with Mourinho and discussed various topics …
Jose of Manchester United, Mkhitaryan and ‘Smalldini’ …
“We [Mkhitaryan] won three titles [Community Shield, League Cup, Europa League] at Man United, unfortunately Man United’s last three titles. I say ‘sad’ because, yes, I love the club so much, and I hope the club is the best.
“We won three titles together so everything was fine. In the second season, we were together a bit different. The thing that made me so much happier than in the beginning was people tried to be negative and say, ‘Miki with Jose no chance, Jose is the kind of guy when things go wrong never go well again ‘, it was proven exactly the opposite. We are very mature, honest with each other at that time even Mino (Raiola), rest in peace.Mino, very good discussion.
“I always try to be very honest with the players. I see my project in Rome needs a player like Miki, I also understand Miki’s importance to the group and he had a wonderful time.
“He helped us deal with all the problems we faced as a small squad. Miki played anywhere, a winger, as a 10, then we had injuries and situations with Covid and he became the center which midfielder he has never done in his life.
“I’m very happy with Miki and I’m happy with the people I understand aren’t all black or white. It’s possible that a player will come with a different relationship than before.”
“With Chris (Smalling) it’s about finding a balance in his body that allows him to play regularly. He’s experienced, his knowledge and his qualities as a defender are like that. Also the tactics related to the system he’s played with team and the defensive organization.
“Chris has been very good this season, playing on a level that makes me very happy about him because he’s an amazing player. He’s recognized in Italy as ‘Smalldini’, half Smalling, half (Paolo) Maldini..”
Jose in the second year of the ‘project’ in Rome …
“We want to try and get into the Champions League but if you look at the level of investment at Inter, AC Milan and Juventus, you know three of these areas have to be closed. It’s Napoli season, can we get there there next season?
“In this second half of the season, after the January market, we did very little [changes] enough to improve the squad. I’m not as lucky as other coaches to buy what they want. By doing things with a standard we can improve things. Next season after this year of work and evolution at every level I think we have a chance and that’s the next target for next season.
Can Nemanja Matic be with Jose for the third time?
“I really don’t like to talk about the players, I don’t think it’s good for me, the club, the players. Everyone knows my relationship with Nemanja, he’s one of the guys I trust. We won that together, we fought United too.
“He’s a fantastic player but that’s the kind of response that’s not good for me or for the player.”
‘Next season I’ll be there’
“At the moment, everything is very calm because I still have a two-year contract. The club didn’t approach me to try to extend so they don’t put me in a state of acceptance or non-acceptance. Everything is calm, stable and that is the way it should be.
“I have to finish the season as best we can and 100 per cent start next season because I’m not looking for a change, my people know that. I can’t leave the club for my second season, I can’t do that at the club.So next season I’ll be here.
“I learned what Newcastle is and how much I love the club through Sir Bobby’s eyes and heart. I’m so glad they found their strength. Eddie (Howe) is working well, the club provides tools for change in the market in January and I hope they are the best. ”