Jose Mourinho on Thursday launched into life with new club Roma, saying his latest challenge is very much a work in progress but vowing that trophies will follow in due course.
The 58-year-old Portuguese arrives back in Serie A 11 years after leading Inter Milan to an unprecedented treble of the Champions League, the Serie A title and the Italian Cup.
But he also has a point to prove after an underwhelming season and a half ended in the sack at Tottenham last April and a difficult two-and-a-half seasons with Manchester United also culminated in dismissal.
“You talk of the title and we talk of time, a project, work. Titles are words, easy promises. Titles will come,” Mourinho insisted following his official presentation as he held court at a press conference before some 70 Italian and foreign journalists.
“But the club does not want isolated success. It wants to get somewhere and stay there,” he insisted, saying Roma do not seek “success today and problems tomorrow, but to achieve something sustainable over time”.
Roma have pinned their faith on Mourinho as a man whose experience of the continental game—but not least, of Serie A itself—can return the ‘Giallorossi’ to distant former glories after they could only place a modest seventh last season.
Their last major honour was an Italian Cup in 2008 and they have lifted the Scudetto or league crown only twice in the post-war era—in 1983 and 2001, the latter triumph under Fabio Capello.
‘Not on vacation’
That patchy record, Mourinho declared, means his goal is to “construct” a club in a “durable” fashion rather than come in promising to deliver instant success and he stressed he was “not here on vacation” but ready to work.
“The word ‘time’ sometimes doesn’t exist in football but here it does exist and it is a fundamental word,” insisted the man who took unfancied Porto to a shock European Cup triumph in 2004 before going on to win three Premier League titles with Chelsea across two spells which bookended a highly successful two years at Inter and a mixed three seasons at Real Madrid.
Mourinho said he would not obsess about Roma’s recent barren patch even if “we cannot escape from the reality” of having finished well off the pace last season.
He vowed only to “speed up this process” of closing the gap and mused that were people to ask him how he might see himself in three years time at the end of this latest deal then “I would imagine myself celebrating”.
“Voila Mourinho! A great day for us, the first step towards a changed mentality,” said Roma’s director general Tiago Pinto in unveiling his compatriot in the hot seat, replacing another Portuguese in Paulo Fonseca.
Mourinho is the 10th man to take the reins at the under-achieving club in a decade stretching back to Claudio Ranieri, who had a two-year spell in charge from 2009.
Fonseca appeared to assure Mourinho that the club would back him in his attempts to forge a squad to compete with the best as he commented that “we have analysed the needs of the team and there will be a team worthy of Mourinho”, who has revamped the backroom and scouting staff.
“The Special One,” as Mourinho dubbed himself to announce his initial arrival at Chelsea, where his first league title was the club’s first in 50 years, was on May 4 appointed on a three-season deal barely two weeks after leaving Spurs days before their league cup final loss to Manchester City as solid early league form petered out.