Jose Mourinho is already finding the nuance in Italian news conferences a mixed blessing after the Roma boss was served a tactical puzzler ahead of the Serie A season opener.
The former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham manager suggested he had been pining for Italy while working in the Premier League last season, due to frustration with the English media.
But when faced with a question about Roma’s full-backs struggling to deliver effective crosses in the European clash with Trabzonspor on Thursday, Mourinho initially suggested he did not want to answer.
“I will start with a joke,” he told reporters. “In England I always used to say that I missed the press conferences in Italy, because here we talk more about tactics – whereas they only want to talk about controversies.
“Now I’m back in Italy, though, I don’t want to talk about tactics because you are too good at it!”
But Mourinho went on to give a full answer to the enquiry, admitting Roma “messed up” several crosses and concluding his team would “try to build up our attacking play so we have a number of different options”.
Roma edged their Europa Conference League game 2-1 in Turkey, and on Sunday they begin their Serie A campaign with a home test against Fiorentina.
Tammy Abraham could make his debut in that game, Mourinho confirmed, even though the striker has been unable to train with his new team-mates due to pandemic restrictions on his involvement since arriving from Chelsea.
“Tomorrow he will be in the squad,” Mourinho said, as quoted by Roma’s official website.
“He has not trained this week with the team, he’s been training alone because those are the current rules. But he has played pre-season at Chelsea, he’s played in some decent games with them and I think he’s physically ready to play.
“It’s been a tough week for him, though, with all the travelling and the medical tests and the paperwork that has had to be signed. But he will be with us. We have three forwards: Borja [Mayoral], him, Eldor [Shomurodov]. I am delighted to have them.”
Mourinho: “The fans can make a big difference. They can play their part in the game.
“If we play with the passion and all the elements I want, then I know they will be behind us. And that will make it a lot harder for any visiting team.”#ASRoma #RomaFiorentina pic.twitter.com/ZwlzspV1lH
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) August 21, 2021
Mourinho made a cutting remark ahead of the Trabzonspor game by complimenting the work of the Turkish club’s ground staff and suggesting on Instagram that those responsible for the state of Roma’s own pitch were on holiday.
Returning to the issue on Saturday, Mourinho said: “In England the climate helps a lot with the quality of the pitches, and that is true in other aspects too – so it is a little difficult to compare England with other places.
“The pitch was not good last week, and I have my doubts about whether it will be great tomorrow – but I have confidence in the professionalism and pride of those whose job it is to work on it.
“For sure, the week after, when Lazio play at home, the pitch will be in even better condition for them.
“So, there should be a bit of pressure applied from everyone, not just from my Instagram – which is a bit of a mean Instagram where I have no filter. I think something, and I just post it. No-one can control me.
“With a little pressure from us all we can make the fields at a better level. When I look at the level of the coaches who are in Serie A and others who are no longer there like Conte, Gattuso and Ranieri, I think we all want quality football and therefore we also need quality pitches.”