Former Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is up to his old tricks again after publicly criticizing his Roma side for being weak and fearful.
Roma conceded three goals in seven minutes to seal their fate against Juventus in the 3-2 loss. Mourinho has a knack for throwing his players under the boss, particularly under a bright media spotlight.
Mourinho was especially tough on Nicolo Zaniolo, whose relationship with the Special One disintegrates more with each public derision.
The 22-year-old has scored just one goal and registered one assist in 17 Serie A appearances. This is what Mourinho said about him:
"“Zaniolo has great potential, but also a great deal to learn in terms of tactics and the stability of his attitude on the field. He has these ups and downs in terms of confidence."
On the surface the comments appear pretty innocuous, but Zaniolo is apparently growing weary of Mourinho’s repeated criticism, both public and private.
Spurs could benefit from the gaffer’s comments, as they’ve been monitoring Zaniolo’s progress. However, the 22-year-old has already suffered a litany of injuries for his still-impressionable age, including a serious ACL issue that kept him out of the lineup for most of last season.
So Spurs probably won’t want to commit to such a high-risk investment. Nonetheless, Mourinho is back to his old tricks again.
The incident was reminiscent of the self-perceived Special One’s time at Spurs, where he repeatedly, and publicly, disgraced individuals for performances he saw as being unworthy of the badge. Whether you like his style or not, he certainly has a way of getting his message across.
Over recent years, his method of publicly humiliating individuals has backfired, eventually leading to a terminal rot in the locker room. He has an uncanny ability to alienate himself, often becoming public enemy No. 1 behind the scenes of the teams he manages.
Some players handle the criticism well, others not so much. And with players being more entitled and coddled than ever before, Mourinho’s bellicose, combative style usually leads to his eventual exodus.
We saw it first hand during his time at Tottenham, as Mourinho inspired, motivated and galvanized the team during his honeymoon period at the club. At the first sign of trouble, Mourinho’s true, irrepressibly acrimonious character came to the fore. Led by sarcasm and an ornery defiance, his damning words had an overwhelmingly negative effect on Spurs’ collective morale.
He eventually lost the locker room and, just a week prior to the Carabao Cup final, his job. I’m wondering how long it will take before the same thing happens at Roma.
The cracks have already started to surface in the Italian capital, and, if history is anything to go by, it won’t be too long before Mourinho self implodes and loses his team and job in the process.