Jose Mourinho’s five worst matches in charge of Roma

After the Friedkins felt it was time for Roma to part company with Jose Mourinho, the meticulous manager will be reflecting on what went wrong.

Mourinho has been sacked two-and-a-half years into his spell with Roma after a series of disappointing results, culminating in a 3-1 loss to Milan, spelled the end.

There were some happier days with Mourinho in the dugout (or even out of it when he was banned from the touchline!), but in each of his three seasons there were also some negatives too.

Here are five of his worst matches in charge of Roma (listed chronologically rather than ranked).

Bodo/Glimt 6-1 Roma (October 2021)

Where else to start? Roma looked like they had been sent to be slaughtered when they turned up in the Arctic Circle for a Europa Conference League group stage match in Mourinho’s debut season and it turned out to be the case.

A relatively weakened Roma lineup, featuring Bryan Reynolds, Gonzalo Villar and Amadou Diawara – but also more experienced stars like Rui Patricio and Stephan El Shaarawy – succumbed to one of the club’s worst ever defeats, full stop.

The Norwegian hosts went two goals up before Carles Perez pulled one back, but Kjetil Knutsen’s side then raced away with it.

Future Roma forward Ola Solbakken scored a brace, for example, as Bodo/Glimt secured a stunning 6-1 win that prompted Mourinho to banish some players from his first-team squad.

Udinese 4-0 Roma (September 2022)

Udinese started the 2022-23 season fairly well and went into the top four with this win over Roma, but their situation didn’t make it any less embarrassing for the visitors.

An early mistake from Mourinho’s old culprit Rick Karsdorp gifted Udinese an early opener and it didn’t get any better from there.

There were three further goals in the second half, but they were all for Udinese, who knocked Roma out of the top four after the Giallorossi had travelled north in second place.

It was Roma’s heaviest league defeat of the Mourinho era; the fact it did not come against one of the top sides only heightened the negativity around it.

Roma 1-2 Cremonese (February 2023)

In all three of Mourinho’s attempts to progress Roma through the Coppa Italia, they won in the round of 16 but lost in the quarter-finals.

The most embarrassing exit came in Mourinho’s second season, at the hands of Cremonese.

Cyriel Dessers put the visitors in front before a Zeki Celik own goal doubled the deficit. Roma’s only response was via Andrea Belotti in the 94th minute.

It was all the more frustrating knowing Cremonese’s next opponent in the cup would be Fiorentina, a worthy side themselves but the most inviting of the three other semi-finalists.

Such was the fall-out from the match that when Roma were drawn against Cremonese in the round of 16 for the next season, Giallorossi Yorkshire researched for an article about the times when the club were knocked out of the cup by the same opponent two years running – but thankfully that will be one to publish another day, since Roma advanced this time.

But, as you will recall later in this article, they did not stay in the cup for much longer.

Genoa 4-1 Roma (September 2023)

Roma only won one of the first six league matches of Mourinho’s final season. The sixth game in that sequence stood out for all the wrong reasons, too.

It was, of course, a 4-1 defeat to a Genoa side that had only just won promotion back to Serie A a few months prior.

There were Genoa goals either side of one by Bryan Cristante in the first half, and then another two by Alberto Gilardino’s side in the second.

The result left Roma in 16th and started to plant the seeds of there being questions about Mourinho’s status.

Lazio 1-0 Roma (January 2024)

As stated, that Coppa Italia progression against Cremonese came only seven days before Roma exited the competition at the hands of their rivals.

Roma only mustered two shots on target against Lazio, which is bad enough even ignoring the fact that Maurizio Sarri’s side were using their third-choice goalkeeper.

Derbies can go either way, but it is the manner in which they are won or lost that truly impacts the Roman population.

This derby descended into chaos late on, as a total of three players (one for Lazio and two for Roma) were sent off in stoppage time. So was Mourinho, naturally.

It turned out to be Mourinho’s penultimate match in charge of Roma – and last on the touchline due to a suspension – as the subsequent Serie A defeat against Milan did little to convince the board that things were heading in the right direction.

It was time for a change.

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