Jose Mourinho singled out just one of his Roma players as he gave a damning post-mortem after the Serie A’s dismal 2-0 defeat to Slavia Prague in Thursday evening’s Europa League clash.
The Roman side were unable to go clear at the top of Group G after a difficult night in Czechia that saw the home side put away two second-half goals without reply.
On the receiving end of the same score in the Eternal City, Slavia Prague were untested by Mourinho’s players in a performance which their head coach described as missing ‘everything’ necessary to deserve a win.
The result sees both teams tied at the top of the group, with Roma placed second on goal difference.
Mourinho had no interest in sugarcoating the performance in his post-match remarks, with only Edoardo Bove escaping group criticism.
Jose Mourinho had almost nothing positive to say about Roma’s Europa League performance
The Giallorossi lost 2-0 to Slavia Prague on the road as the opportunity to top the group slipped from their grasp
But the former Chelsea head coach took time to praise the work of 21-year-old Edoardo Bove
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‘I don’t want to talk much. The players’ decision not to talk to the media was my decision,’ Mourinho told the waiting press. ‘(Andrea) Belotti spoke because it was straight after the game. No one should speak because there’s not much more to say other than what I have to say.
‘Slavia Prague really deserved that result, in a positive way, and we really deserved it too, in a negative way.
‘I didn’t like anything. I’ve already spoken to the players in the changing room. I don’t normally do that because I get so much adrenaline from being on the sideline but the fact that I watched it from above, far away from the pitch, gave me a different type of tranquillity that allowed me to go and talk to the players.
‘What I said stays between us. I only want to be honest with the Slavia players, who deserved to win 2-0.’
Picking over the pieces of the defeat, Mourinho admitted that ‘nothing worked’ in Roma’s game plan, and that even injuries within the squad weren’t enough to excuse the standard of their performance.
‘The fact that (Nicola) Zalewski wasn’t able to play, and (Stephan) El Shaarawy played as a wing-back with Belotti up top on the left, could be used as an excuse. But we were so bad that I don’t want to.
‘Nothing worked. In terms of individuals, very few of the players had the right attitude, the professional attitude I demand. Lots of the players had the wrong attitude for a serious game where there were goals to achieve.
‘I’m disappointed. I don’t want to talk anymore because I’ve already done my analysis with the players, and I’ll do it tomorrow.’
The former Chelsea and Real Madrid admitted that he included himself in the number who deserved a loss at Fortuna Arena, with only the 21-year-old Bove – who came up through the club’s academy – spared from the mauling.
‘Today the best player in our team – the only one I really liked because he gave everything technically, tactically and mentally – was a 20-year-old kid who wasn’t even in the first team two years ago,’ Mourinho added.
‘We had one player who played with legs, body and mind – just one. When you have 11 players on the pitch and only one like that, you can’t win.
‘The only player who didn’t deserve to lose was Bove. Everyone else, myself included, deserved to lose.’
Roma will have no let up as they continue their fight to keep pace in Serie A, and must dive straight into preparations for this weekend’s Derby della Capitale against crosstown rivals Lazio.
The side, in seventh, sit three places ahead of Maurizio Sarri’s players but are separated by a solitary point, and the former Napoli head coach fanned the flames of the rivalry ahead of the derby clash with incendiary comments about the scheduling of European fixtures in the week before their meeting.
The midfielder rose through the ranks of Roma’s academy, where he has played since age 10
Maurizio Sarri had wound up the Poruguese manager before the clash with cutting comments about Roma’s ‘friendly’ ahead of the Roma-Lazio derby on Sunday
After beating Feyenoord 1-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, Sarri lamented the derby’s timing for putting the tie in favour of Roma.
‘Roma can afford a friendly on Thursday and we played a war tonight, there is a fundamental difference,’ Sarri said of the Giallorossi’s meeting with Slavia Prague.
Mourinho responded by deflecting offense to Slavia Prague themselves, but couldn’t resist jibing back: ‘It is as if he said Slavia have no quality. I always respect my opponents. Perhaps this is the difference in a coach who has won 26 titles and another that has barely won anything: that kind of mentality.
‘Every game must be taken seriously, there are no friendlies. I would love to hear the reaction of the Lega Serie A, because that was an objective and direct criticism. So I wait.’
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