'He's never been a great coach' – ex-Roma star aims scathing attack at Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho, head coach of AS Roma, looks on during the Serie A match between AS Roma and Empoli on 4 February, 2023 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy.
(Image credit: Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Jose Mourinho has "never been a great coach" – according to former Roma (opens in new tab) and Italy star Antonio Cassano.

While Napoli look set to run away with this season's scudetto, Roma are well in contention to be the best of the rest, currently sitting third – which would be their best finish since 2018.

The Giallorossi beat Empoli 2-0 in the league on Saturday but were dumped out of the Coppa Italia by Serie A basement team Cremonese – who hadn't beaten top-flight opposition all season – three days earlier.

And Cassano – who made 161 appearances for Roma in the early 2000s and was capped 39 times by Italy – appears to have used the latter result as the springboard for a scathing attack on Mourinho. Speaking on Christian Vieiri's BoboTV podcast (quotes via Goal), he said (opens in new tab):

"Mourinho has never been a great coach; he just knew how to play the media and was a great communicator. He is good at dealing with strong players, not ones who aren’t very good. It’s too easy to just be friendly with great players.

"It is just disaster upon disaster at Roma: he got them to spend money on Nemanja Matic and Rui Patricio; they were his decisions. The other day, that performance [against Cremonese] made me want to vomit. He doesn’t know how to set out a team; even with your second-string squad, you need to beat Cremonese."

Cassano's words are hardly likely to bother Mourinho too much; this is a coach whose record speaks for itself.

The legendary Portuguese has won league titles in England, Spain and Italy, as well as being one of only five managers to lift the Champions League with multiple clubs.

Mourinho guided Roma to just the second European trophy in their history last season – his first in charge at the Stadio Olimpico – in the form of the inaugural Europa Conference League.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...