Roma Coach Mourinho Vague About his Future after his 1st Loss in a European Final

Soccer Football - Europa League - Final - Sevilla v AS Roma - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 1, 2023  As Roma coach Jose Mourinho takes off his runners-up medal REUTERS/John Sibley
Soccer Football - Europa League - Final - Sevilla v AS Roma - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 1, 2023 As Roma coach Jose Mourinho takes off his runners-up medal REUTERS/John Sibley
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Roma Coach Mourinho Vague About his Future after his 1st Loss in a European Final

Soccer Football - Europa League - Final - Sevilla v AS Roma - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 1, 2023  As Roma coach Jose Mourinho takes off his runners-up medal REUTERS/John Sibley
Soccer Football - Europa League - Final - Sevilla v AS Roma - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 1, 2023 As Roma coach Jose Mourinho takes off his runners-up medal REUTERS/John Sibley

Almost as soon as he was awarded it, Jose Mourinho took off the silver medal that had just been hung around his neck by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, walked toward the stands and handed it to a young fan in the front row.

“I only keep the gold ones,” Mourinho said later, still livid after his Roma squad was beaten by Sevilla in a penalty shootout to decide the Europa League final.

After coaching his team to the trophy in five consecutive European finals over two decades, it was Mourinho’s first defeat at this stage and the 60-year-old Portuguese coach was quick to blame the referee for not awarding a penalty kick to Roma for a perceived handball during the second half — as well as a bunch of other decisions that he thought English referee Anthony Taylor mishandled.

“The referee seemed like he was Spanish,” The Associated Press quoted Mourinho as saying. “The result was not fair and there are a lot of instances to re-examine.”

Mourinho was also seen insulting Taylor in the garage of the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary, as his team prepared to depart the stadium.

Having also received a yellow card during the match, Mourinho could be hit with a multi-match ban from future European games by UEFA.

But whether those games come with Roma or another club is an open question.

Mourinho has one more season remaining on his three-year contract with Roma but has been vague about his plans.

“On Monday I’m going on vacation and vacation is vacation. But until then we have time to meet and to talk,” Mourinho said. “Right now I can’t say objectively that I’ll stay. But I would like to. I want to stay at Roma. But my players deserve more and I deserve more, too.”

Having led Roma to the Europa Conference League title in his first season with the Giallorossi, Mourinho is widely revered in the Italian capital. It’s been a career revival after dressing-room apathy and growing disillusionment at his tactics cost him his job at Tottenham slightly more than two years ago after 17 months at the London club.

Mourinho’s defensive tactics don’t make him such an attractive candidate for jobs at the world’s biggest clubs anymore.

“When I’ve been contacted, I’ve said so. Now nobody has called me,” he conceded.

Winning the final was the only route Roma had left to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

“It seems paradoxical but we’re better off not playing in the Champions League next season, because we’re not ready,” Mourinho said.

Roma enters a match against relegation-threatened Spezia in the final round of Serie A on Sunday in sixth place, one point behind Atalanta and one point ahead of Juventus.

Fifth place qualifies for the Europa League spot and sixth place for the Conference League.

With Inter Milan to play in the Champions League final against Manchester City and Fiorentina in the Conference League final against West Ham, those teams could gain automatic spots in Europe and alter Roma’s position.

The final, which Sevilla won 4-1 on penalties after the match ended 1-1 after extra time, lasted 146 minutes — including added time.

“We’re dead. Dead from exhaustion and disappointment,” Mourinho said. “But I’m proud of my boys. We gave everything. ... We lost, but with dignity. Roma was up to the task.”

If he does stay, Mourinho will likely ask for a slew of new players in the transfer market.

He got his wish in the last offseason when Paulo Dybala was signed on a free transfer from Juventus, Nemanja Matic rejoined Mourinho after spells under the coach at Chelsea and Manchester United, and Georginio Wijnaldum was loaned from Paris Saint-Germain. But Dybala and Wijnaldum struggled with injury for much of the season.

Still, Dybala’s first-half goal against Sevilla gave Roma hope of a second consecutive European title. Then Sevilla’s substitutions made a bigger impact as the game wore on.

“You played a great match in front of Europe,” Mourinho told his team. “We win and we lose together.”



UEFA Promises More Clarity for Fans and Players on Refereeing Decisions at Euro 2024

 France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
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UEFA Promises More Clarity for Fans and Players on Refereeing Decisions at Euro 2024

 France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)
France's Antoine Griezmann, right, and France's William Saliba head the balls during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (AP)

Clarity for players and spectators and zero tolerance for serious foul play and dissent — that’s what referees have been tasked with at the European Championship.

UEFA had already announced last month that it would do more to explain decisions to teams, requiring in turn that only captains can approach the referees to discuss them.

And that was emphasized on Wednesday at a media briefing on refereeing guidelines for Euro 2024 that took place at Munich’s Allianz Stadium, two days before host nation Germany kicks off the tournament in the same venue against Scotland.

"Only the captain will approach the referee, the other players they have to think about (playing). That’s it, finish," UEFA managing director for refereeing Roberto Rosetti said.

UEFA has promised that the referees will attempt to give the captains an explanation of key incidents during the match, including what was discussed with VAR.

Any teammate ignoring his captain’s role and approaching the referee showing any sign of disrespect or dissent will receive a yellow card.

Fans, meanwhile, will also get a better understanding of VAR decisions as they will be broadcast on the giant screens in stadiums.

"This is something new. I think it’s very, very, very interesting," Rosetti said. "So we want to give, after the opinion of VAR, a technical explanation for the public. In live, simultaneously, the UEFA expert will prepare the explanation, a technical explanation about what happened in the specific situation.

"For example, on-field review, the referee awards a penalty for handball...technical explanation: Germany number nine touch the ball with his left arm which was in an unnatural position above the shoulder and making his body bigger."

Rosetti has met with all the teams participating at Euro 2024 and their coaches to present the refereeing guidelines for the tournament, including hammering home that any dangerous tackles will be severely punished.

"One of the most important priority in refereeing guidelines is to protect the players," Rosetti said. "To protect the image of the game, but in particular to protect the safety of the main actors of the games.

"We showed them a couple of clips that we are asking to the referees to be very strong in these kind of situations," he added. "So for such situations we asked to the referees to be zero tolerant because this is something that we cannot accept."