Conference League Final Roma vs Feynoored May 25th
One of the GOATS: New Ownership, Summer Signing, and The Mourinho Project
The Mourinho project has proven to be a very ambitious move by the new owner, Dan and Ryan Friedkin, and New Sporting Director, Thiago Pinto. Roma was purchased Last Summer for 750 million as the texas-based businessman Dan Friedkin and his son Ryan became majority owners after buying the club from James Pallotta. They brought in Portuguese sporting director Thiago Pinto having done some brilliant work in Portugal acting as the Director of football. Jose Mourinho was let go by Tottenham Hotspur Midway through last season. Thiago Pinto wasted no time making the Portuguese connection. Reaching out to Jose Mourinho almost immediately about the prospect of returning to Italian football to become Roma manager. To replace the outgoing Paulo Fonseca as they mutually decide to part ways after the season. Thiago Pinto worked his magic and secured Mourinho to join Roma on a three-year deal, as was announced late last season. There certainly was a lot of criticism regarding whether or not Mourinho was still at his best. There were questions if he still was the special one and thrived in the big moments; those questions have certainly been answered now. Mourinho would be given a team that needed a lot of work. They had finished 7th the previous season, missing out on both the Europa League and the Champions League, leaving Mourinho not an ideal Squad despite some of Roma’s incredible individuals. On top of that, competing in the new conference League is certainly not something that Roma has been accustomed to, as they have a club with higher ambitions despite the realization that this is where they were at that moment. Even if Mourinho wasn’t what he once was, there are certain qualities that the special one possesses that Roma was lacking. The winning mentality, mental strength, the ability to thrive in the big matches, and so many other qualities we have at the moment. The idea was he would have a level and influence, and those inconsistencies and problems of the past couple of years could change under Jose Mourinho. Roma got themselves to a conference League final and was much more consistent throughout the season. Showed up in the big games beating Atalanta twice, a team they had not to beat since 2017, complete domination in the second Roman Derby, and potentially finishing ahead of Lazio for the first time in 3 years. They could not deal with AC Milan and Inter Milan yet still managed two draws against Napoli, which was a huge improvement from the previous season. The mentality he has brought to the team is clear Roma has come back and won or earned points in games that he would have lost last season. Not to mention the grind-it-out victories in the league and battling through some tough matches in the conference league. He got Roma, a team that has not won anything for years, to a final totally justifying where he sits on Italian football. The other narrative that was killed this season was Mourinho’s reputation creates a toxic environment in the locker room. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Chris Smalling, two players that did not work well under Mourinho at Manchester United, became critical pieces for Roma under Mourinho. All the negative energy that was said about Mourinho has been proven false, and in hindsight, Mourinho has been the best thing that has happened to Roma in years. It wasn’t easy; he had to make some very difficult decisions. Pedro scored nine times for Roma last season, Bojar mayoral was the top scorer last season with 17 goals, edin Dzeko, Roma’s third all-time top scorer with 119 goals, and Gonzalo Villar was a young midfielder that was thriving under Paulo Fonseca . 4 players Mourinho got rid of it in the summer. At the time very controversial so as well. There’s a lot of work to be done with this Roma team, but Mourinho brought in both January and in the summer have been important. Rui Patricio, a European champion who has had an incredible career with Sporting Lisbon and in the Premier League with Wolverhampton, comes and fixes Roma’s goalkeeper problem and produced 13 million at 33 years of age and becomes the best goalkeeper in the league. Rui Patricio is Italy’s best goalkeeper in the top-five goalkeepers in the world this season; there is no debate in Serie A in team of the season for who the goalkeeper is; it is rui Patricio; he might even have been the player of the season for Roma and for the league. He has saved Roma in so many spots this campaign the impact of Mourinho brought him here. The signing of Mathias Vina hasn’t quite hit yet, but there’s still time to grow there. He also brought in Tammy Abraham to replace edin Dzeko spending the third-most in club history to sign him for 40 million. One of the best attackers in Italy this season 25 goals in all competitions, the greatest debut season out of a striker in club history; his link-up play with Lorenzo Pellegrini has been sensational. Pinto and Mourinho on the back of that gave Pellegrini a brand new 5-Year Extention keeping the Roma captain secured. In January, he brought in Sergio Oliveira, a dire need at the time. Getting him from Porto for a very affordable price is the same guy who orchestrated Juventus’s elimination from the Champions League just a season prior. Not to mention brings in a goalkeeper for the future as well. In addition to all that, the impact he has had on the young players that have come through and been impactful. Nicola Zalewski a young 19-year-old who is coming to this and has been a big factor during the second half of the season, along with Felix Afena. Roma had one collapse against Juventus in a humiliating fashion, losing a 3–1 lead in 7 minutes, but Roma has come back and won games showing mental strength. He also took Lorenzo Pellegrini to a whole different level all of a sudden as a top-five midfielder in World football, the rightful Captain of this ship that hopefully will lead to some trophies in the future Mourinho earlier this season was quoted saying, “I wish I had 10 Pellegrini’s” Everything that came in with the expectations The Narrative the negative energy about Mourinho Roma has hit it out of the park when you can take into consideration see mentality and how much it’s changed with the transfer window and what he brought in and now on Thursday night what Mourinho does he got a team that doesn’t win and hasn’t won for a long time to a conference League final and considering the track record and how much he’s accomplished with this team this season very likely that Romo will win their first trophy since 2008 it’s hard to bet against Mourinho in those situations. He has been the perfect man, and I believe he will lead Roma to multiple trophies in the coming years. This Roma team is only going to get better; they are coming to Jose Mourinho is a big reason why. Not bad for a manager that was supposedly finished.
Rui Patricio and Roma’s Defensive Wall
Roma has one of the best goalkeepers in World football this season, rui Patricio guarding their net. However, the defensive success they have had, especially in the semi-final against Leicester City, goes much deeper than the goalkeeper. Throughout the conference League, Rui Patricio came up with some crucial saves in big moments. He has been integral to Roma’s success in Europe this season, but the brick wall in front of him has been equally influential. Roma doesn’t have any massive names in their backline, at least ones that the world recognizes regularly. Yet they have been nearly impossible to break down, especially in the late stages of the competition. Ever since Roma went to a back five, their season changed dramatically in Europe and the league. Ever since Mourinho made the adjustments in the derby against Lazio, they have been a completely different team. Leicester City, in both games, went right at Roma, attacking them constantly. Yet struggling to find a chance on goal. Roma’s three center-backs, Chris Smalling, Rodger Ibanez, and Gianluca Mancini. Play so well together as a unit understands their roles within the defense rally together, creating a very difficult Prospect to deal with. The wing-backs also play a significant role on both ends. Rick karsdorp and Nicola Zalewski provide a level of athleticism and pace, allowing them to join the attack and push forward while also reverting back in linking up with the three center-backs; it has been a strategy that many of the teams Roma have faced in this competition have found difficult to break down. It is an unsettling factor as an opposing team. You can press Roma, and maybe you can get through the wing-backs if you’re attacking from the left or right side. Then you would find yourself in the box with three very physical Defenders that rarely make mistakes. Let’s say you managed to cut through and get past them; then you’re staring at arguably the best goalkeeper in Europe this season. Leicester City did everything to get into those positions and force Roma to work. They struggled with it even though they had most of the ball it posed to Roma into their own box. The Roma’s never seemed as if they were threatened by anything Leicester city or any of the other teams in this competition have done against them, for that matter. This very much will play into their favor in the final. They have an extreme level of confidence throughout this competition, truly showing how special they are in the semi-final against a Leicester City team that was allowed to attack them. Chris Smalling, in particular, was a mess for the foxes on both legs. Lorenzo Pellegrini said it best in his postgame interview describing the feeling of the Roman team throughout the 90 minutes “Leicester city are a strong side, but we never felt threatened” Just like Leicester City, Feyoonord has some attacking players that can be dangerous. Still, in the end, they’re going to have to go up against a brick wall that slows down the play suffocating their attack. The defensive element is classic Jose Mourinho; he seemingly has these qualities in his defense in every team he has coached; this Roma team is no different; they may not have the big-time names put together as one they perform and make it insufferable for the opposition has been part of the success getting to this final is on the back of the brick wall of the defense that they have Rui Patricio is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Still, the way the defense performed in front of him has contributed, with Roma now having an opportunity to win a European trophy.
The Growth and Transition of Roma
The growth of this Roma team has been astronomical. What we have seen and the way to have improved over this campaign have been truly incredible. Roma has come a long way to get where they are now as a club. With the turnover of players, coaches, and ownership, the fans of this club have been through a lot, myself included. We grew up on the icons of Daniele de Rossi and Francesco Totti with important figures of the club such as Kevin strootman and radja nainggolan playing stretch in which Roma had the likes of Maxime Gonalons, Javier Pastore, and Gerson as well as a collection of average players that came in and went out in a Dark Ages of Roma. The Dictator sporting director Monchi while he had done well at Sevilla before his arrival and his departure he, wrecked the Decades of work it took to reach that point. When he took over Roma, the team was constantly in the Champions League and chasing the title. After all the damage done, Roma finished outside of the top four ever since he left, and now it has taken a coach like Mourinho to try to rebuild it. After a short stint of Gianluca Perachi and going through Paulo Fonseca, Eusebio Di Francesco, and Claudio Ranieri, the change of ownership and getting Tiago Pinto. It’s amazing to see how much growth Roma has had in the last year following one of the darkest ages. Following selling, Antonio Rudiger and Mohamed Salah Roma made the Champions League semi-final in 2018 largely behind edin Dzeko and his 39 goals that season. Not to mention the incredible goalkeeping display from Alisson, the Brazilian goalkeeper left the following season, and edin Dzeko finally departed last year after six glorious years with the club. This brings me back to look at that team one more time and see how much the club has truly gone through some incredible transition. Lorenzo Pellegrini, the club’s current captain, is a player that Mourinho returned to the club that season for 10 million. He is one of only three remaining players from that Squad Lorenzo Pellegrini, Rick karsdorp though he was injured most of that season, and Stephan El Shaarawy. Only three players remain from that incredible run to the Champions League semi-final. Lorenzo Pellegrini has since become one of the five best midfielders in World football. Rick karsdorp dealt with some serious injuries, but he has proven to be one of the best attacking fullbacks in World football over the last two seasons, even if he never truly gets the credit he deserves. Stephan El Shaarawy is not looked at as a critical player in the same way he was at that time now; he is a very important part of Roma, has limited depth, and has scored some crucial goals; all three of his goals this season have been past the 90th minute two of them came in significant parts of the season. The last time Roma made a final of any sort was in 2011 when Claudio Ranieri was in his first stint with the club Erik Lamela was the Young Talent at the club during that era. If you want to find the last time Roma won a trophy, it would be the 2008 Coppa Italia Luciano Spalletti’s first time at the club, arguably the most successful stretch in the 21st century with back-to-back Coppa Italia titles. That team was very different from Francesco Totti, and Daniele de Rossi were both still in their prime, not to mention some of the other critical pieces they had during 2007/2008. Roma is in a final again, but this time it’s a European final one they should be confident in winning. This is the first time since 2017 that Roma fans have anything to be excited about. The team has evolved pragmatically under an all-time great manager as the special one gets to another European final, becoming the only manager ever to reach four European finals with four different clubs. The club still has yet to return to the Champions League. Still, after so much time and a disastrous stretch, Rome is finally turning it around with an ownership group that comes to every game with a director that is building this team is progressing positively and has the right manager that has won everything there is to. The amount of progress that has already been made in one year should show you where this team is heading; they are coming. Roma needs to add a few more pieces, and they will be in the thick of it at the top of Italian football. It’s been a long journey to get here. Roma is in a European final, and I have a sense they won’t waste it and will relish the opportunity to win something once again.