Mourinho's diving lessons idea as red-carded Roma boss feels penalty pain

By Sports Desk September 18, 2022

Jose Mourinho would consider introducing diving lessons for his Roma stars because he fears the only way they will win penalties is by "playing the clown".

The head coach was red-carded in Sunday's 1-0 home defeat to Atalanta after wildly protesting when Nicolo Zaniolo went down in the 55th minute under a challenge from Caleb Okoli but did not get a penalty.

Mourinho was adamant his team deserved a spot-kick for that incident, and he also wanted one in the first half for another challenge on Zaniolo, when Merih Demiral appeared to foul the Roma forward.

Zaniolo stumbled on and got back to his feet after tangling with Demiral, and the referee's refusal to point to the spot on that occasion appeared to fuel Mourinho's later tirade.

By marching onto the pitch, gesturing and yelling complaints, Mourinho left referee Daniele Chiffi with little option but to send him to the stands.

"I tried to speak to Chiffi after the game," said Mourinho. "If a referee tells me that it can never be a penalty if a player does not fall over, then I will have to start telling my players to fall over. I asked him to tell me why he had not given a penalty, but Chiffi did not give me a clear answer.

"Well, he said that it was a matter of interpretation. But for me it's not interpretation; it's a penalty and that's it. The player can still continue the action and then they can go back and give a penalty.

"I want to be the best coach I can be – if we need to instead start playing the clown and pretend that we are at the swimming pool, then I will change the training we do."

Mourinho's team won a penalty in their previous Serie A game against Empoli, which Lorenzo Pellegrini missed.

Replays for the second-half incident on Sunday suggested Zaniolo and Okoli were grappling at each other's shirt long before the Roma man went to ground.

Mourinho was asked whether he expected further action over what was seen as an angry outburst.

Quoted on Roma's official website, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss said: "Angry? I went on the pitch and if the rules say that I cannot then I must be sent off – and there's nothing more to it than that. Let's not make up things that didn't happen.”

Giorgio Scalvini scored the game's only goal in the 35th minute, a smart side-footed strike from the edge of the penalty area that arrowed through a crowd of players and found the bottom-right corner.

It puts Atalanta second at the end of the seventh round of Serie A games, with Napoli overtaking them on goal difference on Sunday evening after winning 2-1 at Milan. Roma sit sixth, four points behind the top two.

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