Francesco Totti leapt to the defence of under-fire Roma head coach Jose Mourinho by saying the Giallorossi do not have any world-class players, while calling for time for the Portuguese to overhaul the Serie A side.
Mourinho – who arrived in the Italian capital at the start of the season – has cut a frustrated figure amid Roma’s run of just three wins in nine Serie A matches.
After a 3-0 loss to Inter on Saturday condemned Roma to back-to-back losses, Mourinho snapped at a journalist and refused to answer his question in a media conference, having cancelled his pre-match news conference.
Mourinho has also been critical of recruitment, the former Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter boss determined to bolster his Roma squad in January.
As pressure mounts with Roma sitting seventh in the standings and nine points adrift of the Champions League places, club great Totti showed his support for Mourinho.
“To win you need the [right] players,” said Totti, who is Roma’s all-time leading appearance maker and scorer. “To win it takes an important manager. It takes a club that makes you feel at home at every level of your employment here.
“They have to be always available for everyone here but the most important thing, as we all know, if you want to win you need the players. It is a necessity, the foundation [of victory].
“I don’t want to disrespect our current squad now, because it is an important squad with important players. But there are no ‘champions’ [world class players], and this is plain to see. Only good players who can do well in a certain context.”
— AS Roma (@OfficialASRoma) December 4, 2021
Roma have not won the Scudetto since 2001, while not since 2008 have they claimed silverware.
Mourinho’s Roma have lost seven of their first 16 Serie A games for the first time since 2008-09.
Totti – who spent the entirety of his professional career at Roma, making 786 appearances in all competitions, scoring 307 goals and winning one Serie A title – added: “When we talk about Roma, I feel huge emotions.
“As a fan, I can say we are not in a great period but ‘if you are not Roma, you don’t suffer’, this is our motto as we say and I guess we are used to it, to these topsy-turvy seasons.
“But I am sure the board and the gaffer [Mourinho] want to put back a smile on us fans’ faces. A city like Rome deserves respect and most luminous stages than what we are watching now.
“Give them time… but not too long and hope we can see Roma back to shine at international level.”