Mourinho's Roma appointment surprises Eriksson as ex-boss warns of Giallorossi demands

By Sports Desk July 03, 2021

Sven-Goran Eriksson believes new Roma head coach Jose Mourinho will do well "for the first and second year" as he highlighted the Portuguese's third-season woes, while warning of the demands in the Italian capital.

Former Inter coach Mourinho will return to Serie A in 2021-22 after being appointed by Roma following his Tottenham sacking in April.

Mourinho, who guided Inter to an unprecedented treble in 2009-10, replaces Paulo Fonseca in Rome, where Roma have not won the Serie A since 2001.

Eriksson knows the Giallorossi well, having spent three years in charge – winning the 1986 Coppa Italia, and the former England boss discussed life in Rome as Mourinho prepares to lead Roma.

"It was a surprise for me… I wasn't expecting him to go to Roma," Eriksson told Stats Perform. "However, Mourinho usually does well in his first and second season. Wherever he goes. It is after that, sometimes, problems start happening. I don't know why and I'm not interested in going into it that much; however, it looks like this is the rule. First year, great; the following year, good; third year, problems.

"However, it's clear that Mourinho, as a coach, can't be questioned. He's a great coach, I know him personally, I knew him when I was coaching England. He was very easy to work with, because he was at Chelsea and had many players playing for England, the national team. And he was always available, perfect, he never complained about me taking his players, etc.

"It's a surprise and it's clear that if you win in Rome, with Lazio or with Roma, your life becomes beautiful. But if it goes bad, your life starts to become hard. Because in Rome there are three, four, five private radio stations where everyone talks about football. Four hours of Lazio, four hours of Roma, it becomes football 24 hours a day, always. However, it's beautiful. Living in Rome is the best thing in life, I think. And about Mourinho, for the first and the second year he will do well, I think."

Mourinho won only 51.2 per cent of his matches at Tottenham and left without lifting a single trophy, albeit he was sacked just days before the 2021 EFL Cup final.

His record in the English top flight before 2015-16 saw him boast a success rate of 69.4 per cent – since then it is just 48.5 per cent.

The 95 points won by Spurs during Mourinho's time at the club was the fourth highest in the Premier League. However, that was 21 fewer than former team Manchester United – Liverpool had 117 and Manchester City were out in front on 130.

Mourinho's teams are supposed to be hard to beat, yet Spurs lost 13 times in 2020-21 under him – it was the worst season he has ever had in that regard.

It has been 20 years since Roma were last crowned champions of Italy and Eriksson added: "It is not easy. If you win the Scudetto with a team that is not Juventus, Milan, Inter, it's always an incredible thing because it happens, but rarely. Very few times.

"These are the three historically great clubs that win 90-95 per cent. That is why, if the city of Rome wins a Scudetto, it's like winning a World Cup. Or even more."   

There is also a new face on the blue side of Rome, with ex-Juventus, Chelsea and Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri replacing Simone Inzaghi at Lazio as he and Mourinho vie for supremacy in the capital.

Sarri boasts a win percentage of over 60 in each of his three previous roles and will be hoping to continue Inzaghi's fine work at Lazio.

The Biancocelesti, who were sixth in 2020-21, finished lower than sixth only once under Inzaghi – though the sole campaign where they finished eighth, Lazio were able to console themselves with Coppa Italia success.

Eriksson was coach when Lazio last claimed the Scudetto in 2000 and the veteran Swede said: "Sarri represents a very positive, very beautiful kind of football.

"I don't know him personally, but he did well at Napoli. Then he went to Chelsea, and perhaps he didn't do great, but he's always playing great football. And then where did he go? At Juve, yes, clear. It's interesting, he's a great coach I think.

"Seeing his teams always playing a positive kind of football, good, organised I think... replacing Inzaghi wasn't easy, because he had become very popular and loved. He did many years at Lazio, and he did well."  

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