“Football is about winning and Mourinho wins. He’s a serial winner and he has brought this Roma team to life”
It all started with a ball over the top from the center-back of Roma – Gianluca Mancini – that Zaniolo controlled with his chest. Zaniolo then pushed the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper of Feyenoord Rotterdam – Justin Bijlow – with the tip of his boot. With the match just 32 minutes old, Roma took lead at the Arena Kombetare, Tirana, Albania.
Rome is where champions are made! Congratulations to @OfficialASRoma on closing out their season with an incredible #UECLfinal win. Thanks to the Giallorossi faithful for your support all season long. Forza Roma! #ASRoma pic.twitter.com/SKCntwGSXN
— The Friedkin Group (@friedkingroup) May 26, 2022
The players on the bench leaped in joy – but one man hinted at remaining calm and composed because the job was still not finished and still sixty minutes remaining.
The Dutch side put shivers down the spine of Roma whose efforts were twice denied by the woodwork in the second half, while Roma shot-stopper Rui Patricio made vital saves to keep Roma in the game.
The Dutch side took the attack to the Italians but it was always tough to get past the compact backline of Mourinho’s team and were caught on the counter when Roma won the ball – that’s how Mourinho has always nailed the opposition teams during his reign as a manager – build from the back, fill the spaces, keep the backline solid, invite the opposition forward and then exploit the spaces left by them.
Such tactics have earned criticism, but Mourinho hardly cared because he is “The Special One” and he knows better what he is doing – nevertheless, very few coaches in Europe could achieve what Mourinho achieved last night.
𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗺𝗮 𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗺𝗮 pic.twitter.com/879ARGHmGH
— 433 (@433) May 26, 2022
As soon as the referee blew the final whistle, celebrations broke through, Mourinho broke into tears and Roma broke the jinx of European Trophies. The last time they had won a continental title was way back in 1961.
Mourinho became the second manager after Giovanni Trapattoni to win five major European titles.
When the chance to become top-tier manager came in 2000 at Benfica, Mourinho replaced Jupp Hynckes after the fourth week of Primeira Liga, and no sooner had he been producing results, the Presidential election of the club turned against him and the newly appointed President Manuel Vilarinho replaced Mourinho, who later on regretted the decision.
Uniao de Leiria appointed him as the manager and immediately, Mourinho showed his class as the team was contesting for the top-tier places.
José Mourinho after winning his fifth European trophy ✋ pic.twitter.com/JUtzQ3MQs9
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 25, 2022
The people around him were releasing that Mourinho was not just another ordinary manager, but rather, possesses the power to galvanize a unit, even if they have hit rock bottom and his tactical and motivational powers started to garner attention when he led FC Porto to European glory a couple of seasons later.
Porto’s unbelievable achievement in the summer of 2003-04, unleashed the legend of Mourinho as the manager.
It was time for him to galvanize another team that had the money but not the ideal brain to reach the top – Chelsea would rope in the Portuguese and reap a rich harvest. Mourinho laid the foundation for today in the last decade and a couple of years later, he will work wonders for Inter and Real Madrid.
Taking risks with teams that are struggling and then making them champions – has become a habit for Mourinho.
2017: José Mourinho, Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan win the #UEL with Man Utd:
◎ 2018: Sell Mkhitaryan
◎ 2018: Sack Mourinho
◎ 2020: Sell Smalling
◉ 2022: Mourinho, Smalling and Mkhitaryan win the #UECL with AS Roma.
United haven’t won anything in that time. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/LGMrCyiYXK
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 25, 2022
After Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and Manchester United; it was time for the Special One to lift Roma.
His start was scratchy.
After the embarrassing 6-1 defeat against Bodo/Gilmt last October, Mourinho was taken to the cleaners – but that is where he is special and which is – he can pick up the tempo even when all seems to have been lost.
Gradually the team started to settle as he was doing the job of uniting the players and making them play together as a team under his tactics, where you have to be very good at defending and nailing the opponent with pace on the counter.
Una giornata indimenticabile, nella nostra Città.
GRAZIE A TUTTI 💛❤️
ROMA HA VINTO 🏆 pic.twitter.com/2XOebCOHrj
— AS Roma (@OfficialASRoma) May 26, 2022
He has made the Armenian footballer Henrikhitryan feel very important to the team and that worked wonders for him as the Armenian started to deliver the goods.
His formation has always been 4-2-3-1 – but at Roma, he more often switched to 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 where Chris Smalling, Ibanez, and Gianluca Mancini were the three center-backs with Tammy Abraham joined in the attack by Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pelligrini.
Nicola Zalewski – the 20-year-old was converted as a left-side midfielder/left-winger at times from central midfielder and under Mourinho, he just flourished. Meanwhile, Stephan El Shaaraway has been a very good option from the bench.
His 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 suited the young guns as Mourinho gave them the freedom to spread their wings by providing security at the back and midfield.
The results came after all the hard work as Roma ended the season with flying colours last night.
A new mural of 'Emperor' Mourinho has appeared overnight in Rome 👑
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 26, 2022
“He is the best,” said a jubilant Abraham, who would finish the season by scoring 27 goals for Roma – very few expected him to deliver when he joined Roma last August, but right now he remains one of the most impactful players.
“The great thing about my career is that, aside from the Europa League with Manchester United, doing it with Porto, Inter and Roma is very, very, very special,” Mourinho said.
“It is one thing to win when everyone expects it, when you made the investments to win, but it’s quite another to win when something feels immortal, that feels truly special.”
“This remains in the history of Roma, but also mine. I was told only I, Sir Alex [Ferguson] and Giovanni Trapattoni won trophies in three different decades. It makes me feel a little old, but it’s nice for my career.”
“The hard work just started,” said BT Sport expert Cole.
“Roma have gone through a few managers, lost a direction and an identity. Jose’s loved in the city but there is a way to go,” he added.
“These scenes now, especially for the lads who’ve come through the ranks at Roma – you cannot go to that city and not feel the club.
“Football is a religion there and they will feel like heroes and be remembered, but this is the start of the journey. Jose will be back in the office, planning whether they can have a go at the Europa League and get closer to titles.”
In the coming days, the Special One is about to gift us more special results.