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José Mourinho: The first press conference in full

José Mourinho was presented to the media on Thursday afternoon, at a glamorous event in the heart of Rome's historic district.

Journalists from around the world descended upon Terrazza Caffarelli for a first glimpse at the Portuguese boss - and a first opportunity to ask him questions about his new role at AS Roma.

The world-famous boss was on fine form as he addressed the media; here's everything he had to say in front of reporters.

Mourinho began proceedings with a short address of his own, one mainly directed at the club's supporters.

“First and foremost I need to thank the fans," he said. 

"Their reaction, since the announcement, has been truly amazing. I immediately felt that strength of feeling from them. I have not done anything [yet] to deserve that, so I immediately felt in their debt. The welcome has been amazing. So, the first thing I need to do is thank all of them for that.

“Beyond that, I need to thank everyone at the club, the ownership, the Friedkin family, Tiago Pinto, all of you. But the reaction of the fans really has been amazing and has left a big impression on me.

" I guess the question is coming anyway, so perhaps I can answer it in advance: ‘Why am I here?’ Well, we are near to the statue of Marcus Aurelius and, as he once said, ‘Nulla viene dal nulla, nulla ritorna dal nulla’ ('Nothing can come out of nothing, any more than a thing can go back to nothing'). This has a very similar feeling to what I experienced when I spoke with Dan and Ryan for the first time.

“What they want for the club is very clear. You should never forget the past, but we want to build a future. In football the word ‘time’ never seems to exist, but here it does. What the ownership want is not success today and then problems tomorrow. They want to create a sustainable system. They want to leave a legacy for the future. That is why I am here.

“Now the time has come to work. Along with my staff, those who have come with me, but my staff work with all of us. Everyone. We are not here on holiday, to be tourists – we are here to work.

"Roma has the name, the symbol and the colours of Rome, it is linked with the city throughout the world. That’s a big responsibility. But we are here to work. And that is what we will do. Today, first training is at 4pm. See you later.”

The pressure, the scrutiny that exists in this city – what sort of effect has that had on you? Are you excited to be working in a city where they talk about football all day?

“I have already had to change my phone number three times! I don’t know how you all found it!

“But, jokes apart, it’s amazing, it’s incredible. When you work in Italy and then you go elsewhere, you miss the place where they talk about football all the time. There is work to be done internally, within the club we need to focus on the work that needs to be done. You [journalists] have your jobs, and we have ours. I am not a terribly nice person when I work. I defend my club, and that means what we do internally, wherever possible, should stay inside. All of us think that way. But, nevertheless, we respect the job you have to do.”

How will you try to change the DNA of this squad of players?

“We need to get to know the squad. It’s important to do that. There will be fundamental principles, there will be principles that are non-negotiable. Today is the first day of training and I want the players to understand straight away how we are going to work.

"My way of working is very simple: at 100%. And that does not just go for the players, but every one of us inside the club. I spent my quarantine period at the training centre; I saw the great desire that exists for us to get working together. And that’s a great feeling to have. A great feeling.”

In the newspapers they have been writing about all the different players you have spoken to already about joining Roma…

“I have not spoken to anyone. You can choose to believe whether that is true or not, but I have not spoken to anyone. I speak with Tiago, I speak with the ownership, I speak with different people within the club … but as far as players go, I have not spoken with any of them.”

You arrived in Italy for the first time back in 2008, when it was a highly competitive league. Today Serie A has lost ground a little bit. Could this be the most important challenge of your career?

“The next challenge is always the most important of my career. And, speaking about this job, obviously it’s very important. In terms of Italian football, Italy is in the final of the Euros with a squad with a lot of players from Serie A. So clearly it is a quality league. Those of us who work within this league need to do more than ever before in order to improve."

You left Italy in 2010. Italians continue to talk about you with great reverence. How have you changed since then?

“I am a better coach. Everybody should feel like that is the case, though. If you are not improving, then something is not working properly.

"I am more mature now; I am the same person though, for better or for worse.”

There is talk about Edin Dzeko’s future again. How do you view him? And could he become the club captain once again?

“I want to answer your question, but I cannot talk about, and will not speak about, what I am doing internally. I will be mean with you guys, but that’s how it has to be for me. As far as the captaincy goes, the players and the club need to know before any of you.”

Did you expect to receive such a powerful welcome in this city, where the phrase ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ (‘I came, I saw, I conquered’), was born?

“We have agreed a three-year contract – we cannot ignore the fact that this team has not won anything for a number of years. We have to understand why the team finished so far off the title, and also fourth position. We need to understand what the right answers are. We want to challenge for trophies, but following the right trajectory to do so.”

What sort of role will Leonardo Spinazzola and Bryan Cristante have in your Roma team?

“We are all very happy that these players represent the national team, especially a national team that is doing so well and now has a 50% chance of returning home as champions of Europe. It’s something for my players to be proud of.

"Cristante underlines the fact that it is a national team full of great players. Only 11 can play, [coach Roberto] Mancini cannot put out more than that, but he has shown a lot of respect for Cristante. Every time he turns to the bench during a game, he seems to think of him. He is an amazing player for the team. I am waiting for him with arms open wide.

“In the case of Spinazzola, it’s very unfortunate. But he is a positive lad. It’s a really tough situation both for him and for us, because we won’t have him back with us for such a long time. Who will take his place? We have a young player, Riccardo Calafiori, and we have faith in him – but nevertheless we need another left-back.”

Eleven years after leaving, what are your feelings as you return to Italian football?

“First and foremost, I am the Roma coach. I don’t want to be seen as anything more than that. I have a lot to do here – what I need to do is focus on my job. If, as a consequence of my work for the club, I can help Italian football reach a higher level, then that is great.

"Criticism can come and go, but I will do what I can to defend myself. If you need more from us, then we are here – but not for those who are trying to create problems, obviously. I want to enjoy myself and I think we can find a way to all enjoy ourselves.”

What targets have you been set – or set yourself? The last few jobs have not gone so well…

“I am a victim of everything I have done before. I am victim of how people look at me now, unfortunately.

"At Manchester United I won three trophies and it was called a disaster. At Tottenham, after arriving in a tough moment, I reached a final that I was unable to lead the side out in. What is a disaster for me, would be an amazing achievement for others.

"The targets? Speaking in a very pragmatic way, our first target is to win the first competitive game we have. Then after that we will think about the next target. There is a job to be done, this team and this club needs to improve each and every day. We have started in that regard with all the infrastructure at Trigoria.

"So that is our objective: every day we need to do better and to be better.”

Do you want to say anything to those critics who say you are no longer among the best coaches?

“I have already responded to that: at the last three clubs I have worked for, I won a league title with Chelsea, three trophies with Manchester United, and reached a final that I could not manager in with Tottenham.

"What is a disaster for me, others have never done in their life. It’s my fault.”

What do you make of your Serie A rivals heading into this season?

“I don’t want ‘Mourinho’s Roma’, I want a Roma for Roma fans. I am one more of them, that’s it. If you want to talk about Allegri’s Juventus, Spalletti’s Napoli, Sarri’s Lazio then you can do that – but I don’t like anyone talking about it being Mourinho’s Roma.”

Is this squad good enough to win something?

“It’s not something I’m interested in, to talk in this manner. But there is the truth: we finished 29 points off first last season and 16 points off fourth. So, first and foremost, we need to understand why that happened. After that we can focus on getting where we want to get to. ‘Time’ was a key word that was mentioned the first time I spoke with the ownership. But if we can accelerate the process than that will be better. That is how I am, and I hope that everyone at the club will have that same mentality.”

Could you have a positive season without winning a title?

“You always want to talk about trophies, but we are talking about a project, about hard work, about time.

"It is very easy to just promise titles. The trophies will come. The ownership do not want an isolated moment of success. They want to reach that level and stay there. One win is easy, staying up there is less so. We want to make sure everything is sustainable, at a club level too.

"We don’t want to win and then not be able to pay the salaries.”

What do you make of Nicolo Zaniolo? Is he ready to play a key role in your team – and what do you think is his best position?

“That’s what we need to work on. Zaniolo is a kid with amazing talent, as are many others in this squad. We all know what has happened to him in terms of the injuries he has suffered. We need to find his best position, where he can really express himself to the best of his ability. We want to create a style of play that the players buy into, that they are happy to play in.”

Did the TV series on Tottenham show us the real Mourinho? And what are your initial tactical ideas for this team?

“We have our ideas, but we need to work on it each day. We will try to work out the best way to allow the players to express themselves to the best of their abilities, to make them feel comfortable in their roles. Right now in football it’s harder than ever to stick to one style of play – during games you need to be ready to change things at any moment. Let’s see. I did not watch the series on Tottenham but, yes, that was us acting naturally – even if we knew the cameras were hidden around the place.”

Are you disappointed not to be going up against Antonio Conte again?

“There are coaches at clubs that no other coach at that club can ever be compared to. At Roma, no-one should compare any of us to Nils Liedholm, or Fabio Capello. At Inter, no-one can be compared to myself or Helenio Herrera.”

Where do you see your Roma side being in three years?

“Celebrating.”

Celebrating what?

“Something [smiles].”

The last question: if Roma win something within three years, are you aware how many parents will name their children Jose?

“Jo-seppe [smiles].”

 
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