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Why AS Roma's Jose Mourinho appointment might not be such a terrible idea

Max Cooper
He's back
He's back / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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"Oh dear Lord! Take my eyes! I don't need them anymore!"

That may or may not have been the reaction of one particular AS Roma sympathiser on Tuesday afternoon, as news broke that the daring and expressive Paulo Fonseca was to be replaced by his absolute antithesis, Jose Mourinho.

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The new Giallorossi owners had decided to state their intentions for the club, and they did so in a way only the most ambitious and courageous businessman would do: Hiring a human hand grenade.

Understandably, Mourinho's appointment was met with derision in the UK, and with pity and condolences from Tottenham Hotspur supporters, who had just freed themselves from the shackles of that particular expensive prison.

However, the reaction in Italy could not have been more contrasting. Roma supporters rejoiced, newspapers hailed his arrival with headlines such as 'Ave Jose' (Hail Jose), and comparisons to Roman emperors were already being pitched.

So, who's right? Is Jose's managerial form going to continue on its downward spiral, or is the Italian sun and Mediterranean diet going to help Mourinho transform back into the Special One? 90min has a look at just why this partnership is not so crazy, after all.


Untarnished legacy

While English football fans are still rolling on the floor at Mourinho's jibes at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for not feeding his kids, calcio lovers are looking back all misty-eyed at his incredible treble-winning antics with Inter just over a decade ago.

I Nerazzurri became the first and only Italian side to win the Serie A title, the Champions League and the Coppa Italia in one season, elevating Mourinho's legendary status to deific levels. So, while he has set about ruining his reputation in England, those in Italy prefer to analyse what he has delivered in Serie A over the years.

That means Mourinho still boasts that aura and mystique that has carried him so far in his career, and people in Italy still hang on his every word. Let's hope the players have been watching 2010 Champions League final reruns for the past ten years, too.


Mentality mice

The term 'mentality monsters' has been coined by Jurgen Klopp in the Premier League, but Roma are definitely the mentality mice of European football. The players' inability to cope with the pressures of their supporters has plagued the club for years, with their latest humiliation coming in the 6-2 drubbing by Manchester United.

Roma have also only taken four points from a possible 30 against the six teams above them in Serie A this year, pointing to an even larger inferiority complex than one may have originally feared. This infinite stage fright has to be exercised out of the team, and although Mourinho failed to stop Spurs from Spursing it up, he will fancy his chances at breeding another fearless pack of wolves in Italy.

The Portuguese coach shares the same win-or-die-trying mentality as the Giallorossi supporters, and they'll be on board from the off, as long as they see a group of players who show no fear when standing toe to toe with Europe's giants.


Stylistically suitable

That transformation may be more possible away from the Premier League, too. Mourinho's style is outdated, there can be no doubts about that. And it looked archaic in the English top flight, with even Newcastle United showing a high enough tempo to outplay his Spurs side.

But Serie A is a very different ball game. Italian football is more tactical, but more importantly, far lower in tempo and energy. This will play perfectly into Roma's hands under Mourinho, where organisation and resolute defending go a much further distance than in the rock n' roll Premier League.

Italy is the home of defensive football, and Jose will certainly feel a casa when he's edging to mind-numbing 1-0 victories over the likes of Empoli next year.


Media master

One of the biggest causes of the consistent collapses of the Roma team is their internal media. Radio stations have 24/7 channels devoted to non-stop chat about the Giallorossi, the newspapers spew gossip no matter how damaging to the team, and eventually, the bell tolls for whichever manager is in the firing line.

Mourinho may have lost his touch in England, but as mentioned, he's still the media guru in Italy. The Roman press will be wary of taking aim at such a prestigious figure, and he'll deflect the attention away from his players - until the going gets tough and he throws them all under the bus.

NO. That won't happen this time!


Marquee signings

Jose Mourinho, Marouane Fellaini
Please not Fellaini... / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Roma's squad is in desperate need of a do-over, and with new owners bankrolling their summer spending, things could get hectic in the Italian capital. Luckily, Mourinho is a man who demands backing, and his arrival confirms that the purse strings will be loosened.

And the weight of his name could attract some elite players to try to lift the Italian giants back to the top table of Serie A. Sure, some stars may not fancy working under such a basket case of a man, but there will be some still enchanted by the allure of the treble-winning Special One.

This will be one of the most important summer transfer windows in Roma's history, and while Marouane Fellaini and Nemanja Matic will inevitably be linked, supporters will be dreaming of a major coup or two firing I Giallorossi to glory.

The squad and club is at its lowest ebb for some years now, sitting seventh in the league and lacking direction. Frankly, it can't get any worse... can it?


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