Roma head coach Jose Mourinho suggested for Nicolo Zaniolo to start thinking about a move away from Serie A as he vented his frustration with refereeing in Italy's top flight.

Mourinho watched on as fifth-placed Roma suffered a 1-0 defeat at Bologna in Serie A action on Wednesday.

Roma boss Mourinho was agitated post-match after star forward Tammy Abraham and full-back Rick Karsdorp were both ruled out of Saturday's clash against reigning champions Inter due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Zaniolo – who is yet to score in Serie A this term, though he has managed two goals in the Europa Conference League – was also booked for diving

"I'll have to invent the line-up on Saturday," Mourinho told DAZN following the fixture as he turned his attention to 22-year-old Italian forward Zaniolo, who sat out the entire 2020-21 campaign due to another anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

"Luckily, I replaced [Gianluca] Mancini. Otherwise, he may have been booked too.

"I will finish with one observation. I want to say something that probably goes against my interests: if I were Nicolo Zaniolo, I would start thinking that perhaps playing in Serie A means things will be stacked against me."

This was former Inter coach Mourinho's first defeat against Emilian teams in Serie A – the Portuguese before Wednesday's match had a record of four wins in as many games against Bologna.

Roma have gained 25 points in their first 15 league matches. In the last 10 Serie A seasons, including the current campaign, only in 2018-19 have they claimed fewer points after 15 matches (21).

"Credit to Sinisa [Mihajlovic] and Bologna, they played a great game. But credit to my players too. They gave it their all against everything and everyone," said Mourinho.

"Injuries before the game, injuries during the game, 'hidden' injuries to players who played the full 90 minutes. Then there were a few incidents but my players kept fighting.

"I am proud of these guys, I don't have negative feelings towards them."

Jose Mourinho made good on a promise to buy Felix Afena-Gyan an €800 pair of trainers after his match-winning exploits for Roma at the weekend. 

The Ghanaian 18-year-old scored a double off the bench to lead Roma to a 2-0 Serie A victory over Genoa on Sunday, ending their three-game winless streak in all competitions. 

He became the first player born since January 1, 2003 to score in the Italian top flight and the third-youngest foreigner to score at least twice in a single Serie A game. 

Afena-Gyan celebrated his first goal, which came when he slotted home Henrikh Mkhitaryan's throughball in the 82nd minute, by running over to Mourinho. 

"I promised him a very expensive pair of shoes, for 800 euros, and he came to me to make sure I didn't forget," Mourinho told broadcaster DAZN. 

"I really like his coldness, his physicality, but above all his humility." 

Afena-Gyan on Monday shared a video on Instagram of himself unboxing the new shoes in the presence of Mourinho. He included the caption: "Forever grateful Sir. I'll make you proud."

Speaking to Roma's official website after the game, Afena-Gyan said of Mourinho: "He is teaching me a lot and I am learning a lot from him. He is someone who has achieved a lot during his career and he is a great person. I am glad to be working with him. 

"He encourages me day in and day out to do everything that will help me improve in future. So I am happy to be working with Jose Mourinho. I thank him very, very much. I thank him a lot. He's a great person." 

Felix Afena-Gyan thanked Jose Mourinho after the teenage sensation opened his Roma account with a stunning brace off the bench to sink Genoa 2-0 in Serie A on Sunday.

Afena-Gyan enjoyed a fairytale outing, the 18-year-old substitute scoring twice to ruin Andrey Shevchenko's debut as Genoa head coach.

With the score deadlocked at 0-0, Afena-Gyan was introduced by Mourinho in the 75th minute and turned the match on its head, breaking the deadlock seven minutes later.

After sprinting to celebrate with Mourinho, the Ghanaian forward then sealed the victory with a sublime strike in the fourth minute of stoppage time at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

"I thank God for this opportunity he gave me, the team, the coach, the fans, players for their amazing support," Afena-Gyan told DAZN.

"I also want to say thank you Mom, she is in Ghana, I love you."

 

It was a memorable night for Afena-Gyan, who became the first player born after January 2003 to score at least one goal in Serie A.

Afena-Gyan ticked off a number of feats – the youngest player to score more than one goal in a match in this season's top-five European League (18 years, 10 months and two days), youngest foreign player in Serie A's three-point era (since 1994-95) to score for Roma, youngest foreign player to net more than once for the Giallorossi in Serie A since 1994-95, while he is the first Ghanian to score for the capital club.

Afena-Gyan added: "Mourinho is a great person, a great manager and a great coach. He gives you the motivation to learn every day. I am very happy he is here.

"Tonight is a dream come true. It was my first goal, I was hoping for a very long time. I want to continue my performance, prove myself and do more in future."

Afena-Gyan was making only his third appearance for Roma, having been introduced to the senior side by veteran boss Mourinho in Rome.

 

"I had promised to buy Felix the boots he really likes, which are really expensive, they cost €800, so he ran over and told me not to forget! Tomorrow morning, the first thing I do is buy him the boots," Mourinho told DAZN.

"I am sorry for Mister [Daniele] De Rossi and the Primavera squad, but Felix will stay with us. The Primavera work close to us, so Felix and another four or five players have come across to the senior squad.

"What impressed me the most was his cool head in front of goal. If he is not in terms of technique fantastic, he does have a strong mentality.

"You get these kids now who think they know everything, but he is humble and you can sense he just absorbs all this information from everyone around him. That's fantastic."

Jose Mourinho believes Andriy Shevchenko has already shown that he can be a success as a head coach in Serie A ahead of his first game in charge of Genoa on Sunday.

The Ukraine legend replaced Davide Ballardini as head coach of the Grifoni two weeks ago after a 2-2 draw at Empoli made it nine games without a win.

Shevchenko's first game in club management sees him hosting Roma and Mourinho, who was at the helm at Chelsea when 'Sheva' arrived at Stamford Bridge as a player in 2006.

The 45-year-old recently left his role in charge of the Ukrainian national team after a quarter-final defeat to England at Euro 2020.

Shevchenko enjoyed a very successful time as a player in Italy, scoring 127 goals in 226 Serie A games for Milan, and Mourinho expressed his hope that he can have success as a manager as well.

"He was an incredible player," Mourinho said at a media conference on Saturday. "This is his first job in club management, but he did really well with Ukraine.

"I think he showed he has ideas, he has leadership... but I hope he loses the first of his club management career, like I did!"

Mourinho will also be looking to improve the fortunes of his own team, with Roma having won just one of their last seven games, and he will be missing several players through injury and COVID-19.

The Giallorossi announced on Saturday that Bryan Cristante and Gonzalo Villar have tested positive for COVID-19, and join injured quartet Matias Vina, Chris Smalling, Riccardo Calafiori and Leonardo Spinazzola on the sidelines.

"We didn't do any training this morning. It will be fun for you to think about how we will play tomorrow," Mourinho said. "The work we've done in the week has to go in the bin a bit.

"It's clear we need to find new solutions and perhaps some players will have to 'sacrifice' themselves in different roles."

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United manager knows the risks that come with playing a team under a new head coach, and believes that factor will make the clash all the more interesting.

"At the very least, it's going to be an entertaining, intriguing game," he added. "The Genoa fans will be up for the game, the players will want to impress the new coach. It's a beautiful stadium and I'm sure it will be a great atmosphere."

Jose Mourinho remains on course to become "one of the most important coaches in the history of Roma", general manager Tiago Pinto has declared.

Defeats to Milan and Venezia before the international break, either side of a draw with Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League, came as a jolt to the Giallorossi.

They had previously won six of their first 10 Serie A matches of the campaign, with Mourinho making a strong start to his second club job in Italy, after a triumphant spell as Inter boss over a decade ago.

Now Roma face the challenge of building momentum afresh, starting on Sunday when they travel Genoa.

Pinto was pivotal in bringing Mourinho to Roma and is confident the former Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United boss will lead the club to great success.

It has been a feature of their collaboration that Pinto and Mourinho have stressed there is a Roma "project", and it is one that could take years to come to fruition.

Although Mourinho has previously had a reputation for quickly building a winning team, from day one it has been a different concept with Roma.

"He has built this image over time, because fortunately he has coached the biggest clubs in the world and maybe these teams do not have the time, the project and the strategy of Roma," Pinto told Sky Sport Italia.

"But it would not have been possible to have a coach like Mourinho without this strategy. All the time he spends with the Roma youth team confirms that he is totally aligned with us.

"We cannot create an instant team like other teams do and this is not a criticism, but a truth. Mourinho is not only aware of this, but he is also aligned and the work he is doing proves this more than my word."

Mourinho has given chances to young players, but he has also pointed to the weakness of his squad beyond the core of the first team, particularly in the wake of a 6-1 away loss to Bodo/Glimt.

Roma sit sixth in Serie A after 12 games but are already 13 points behind Napoli and Milan, and Mourinho said after the shock loss to Venezia that he felt his squad was no stronger than last season's pool of players, despite a major transfer window overhaul.

He also said this season could prove "a painful one for body and soul".

Pinto said that Roma's studied effort to gradually build up the team "doesn't mean we don't want to win", as he explained the signing of England striker Tammy Abraham from Chelsea.

"Maybe we confused people because we took Abraham, who is young but a great player," Pinto said. "But we don't want to make an instant team, we want to work in all areas and improve every day and in every transfer window."

That final comment may indicate Roma will move again in the market in January, backing Mourinho by listening to his comments about where the squad is still falling short.

"Mourinho is important to us. We took him because his experience, his intelligence and his leadership were perfect to develop this three-year project of a change of mentality, reconstruction of the squad and development and improvement of all players," Pinto added. "And I must say, after four months, that the choice was right and that he will be one of the most important coaches in the history of Roma."

There are already signs of substantial improvement at Roma, when balancing this term's performances against those of last season.

When it comes to committing errors leading to shots by the opposition, in 2020-21 Roma were allowing 0.71 per Serie A game, but that has come down to 0.42 this season.

Roma are having 18.5 shots per game, compared to 14.34 under Paulo Fonseca last term. They are creating 14.5 chances per game, a step up from 10.76 in 2020-21.

If their big-chance conversion rate had not fallen away, from 41.35 per cent in 2020-21 to 32.14 per cent, the season might have begun in even brighter fashion.

Passes played into the box have shot up (28.24 to 33.33 per game), while the aerial challenges won/loss ratio is a healthier 175:141 so far under Mourinho after last season's 461:443 split, a sign his slowly-slowly revolution in Rome is taking effect.

Jose Mourinho is not the problem at Roma and the club and fans must stick with him, according to Giallorossi legend Francesco Totti. 

Roma appointed Mourinho last May and invested around €130million on new players – the biggest close-season outlay of any Serie A team. 

Things started positively with Roma winning their first six competitive games of a season for just the third time in their history, but they have been victorious in just four of their subsequent 12 outings. 

Mourinho became the first Giallorossi boss since Luis Enrique in 2011 to lose their maiden top-flight Derby della Capitale in September, while the following month he suffered the heaviest loss of his managerial career when Roma were hit for six by Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League. 

The next week his 43-game home unbeaten run in Serie A came to an end at the hands of Milan, while November started with a disappointing draw at home to Bodo/Glimt and a shock 3-2 loss at Venezia. 

However, Totti does not believe Mourinho is at fault for Roma's slide in form and believes his pedigree is more than sufficient for a show of faith. 

"If we think Roma's problem is Mourinho, it means we have everything wrong," Totti told Sky. 

"Mourinho has won more than all the other Serie A coaches combined – hats off to him. 

"You have to focus on him. He is a great coach and a great motivator. He knows how to manage the group, he knows what to say and what to do. 

"The club and the fans must stick with him." 

Despite their poor form, Roma sit sixth in Serie A and are just three points adrift of the top four. 

After their lucrative takeover, Newcastle United are set to make a transfer splash in January.

The Magpies are winless and second last in the Premier League table this season.

Newcastle remain without a manager, following Steve Bruce's dismissal a fortnight ago.

 

TOP STORY – MAGPIES IN FOR COUTINHO LOAN DEAL

Newcastle United look set to make a move for Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho in January, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

Financially embattled LaLiga giants Barca are said to be keen to offload the former Liverpool forward, who arrived at Camp Nou from the Reds in 2018.

Barcelona are reportedly ready to accept a loan deal that includes a mandatory option to buy with Newcastle.

ROUND-UP

Barcelona are bullish about signing up Ousmane Dembele to a fresh three-year deal with the option for a further season, claims Mundo Deportivo. Dembele has been linked with LiverpoolManchester United and Juventus.

- Barca are also considering a move to sign Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele on loan, reports Sport. Ndombele has made nine appearances this season.

- Brazilian club Palmeiras have entered the race to sign Manchester United's Edinson Cavani, claims the Daily Express. The Uruguayan signed a one-year contract extension in May.

- Former Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho wants to bring Spurs midfielder Harry Winks and Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Roma, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports reports ex-Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca is still interested in the vacant Newcastle managerial role. Fonseca nearly took over at Tottenham in the off-season. Magpies candidate Unai Emery announced he was staying with Villarreal on Wednesday.

- La Nazione says Tottenham are firmly in the race to sign Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, who has also been linked with Manchester City, Inter, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Juve.

Roma boss Jose Mourinho has questioned the decision of his former club Tottenham to replace Nuno Espirito Santo with Antonio Conte.

The Italian signed an 18-month contract with Spurs on Tuesday after Nuno was relieved of his duties following a stuttering start to the season that saw them win five and lose five of their first 10 Premier League games.

The former Wolves manager saw his four-month spell at the North London club come to an end on Monday after a 3-0 defeat at home to another of Mourinho's former teams, Manchester United.

When asked whether Spurs turning to Conte would make them Tottenham stronger, Mourinho spoke to Sky Sport. “He is a good coach, but Nuno Espirito Santo is also a very good coach who had done well for four or five years at Wolverhampton. I can't say that Tottenham have a good coach now, they had one before. They have it now and they already had it.”

Like Mourinho, Conte has enjoyed previous success in English football with Chelsea, whom he guided to the Premier League and FA Cup during his two seasons in charge.

Of all managers to have taken charge of at least 20 Premier League games, only Pep Guardiola (73 per cent) has a higher winning percentage than Conte (67 per cent).

Mourinho and Conte clashed several times during their time in the Premier League when the former Italy boss was at Stamford Bridge and the Portuguese managed the Red Devils.

During his 18-month spell at Tottenham that came to an end in April, Mourinho managed 58 Premier League games, winning 27, drawing 14 and losing 17.

Roma boss Jose Mourinho did not want to say much following the Giallorossi's 2-1 defeat to Milan at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday, fearing that if he did he "won't be on the touchline next week."

The loss was Mourinho's first at home in Serie A in his career, having been unbeaten for 43 home games during his time at Inter and Roma.

"Compliments to Milan," he said to DAZN immediately after the game. "I don't want to say anything else, because otherwise I won't be on the touchline next week.

"I am angry at the lack of respect shown to the Roma fans. We did not play well, but we left everything on the pitch. We have that respect, others do not, and that angers me.

"That is all."

The former Chelsea and Manchester United manager then held an equally short press conference, adding: "I made an effort and did not wait for the referee."

 

1 - Mourinho has lost his first Serie A home game, after 43 matches in a row without losing: the longest unbeaten home run for a coach since 1994/95 in the competition. Stop. #RomaMilan

— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) October 31, 2021

 

Mourinho appeared to be unhappy with the performance of referee Fabio Maresca, who awarded Milan a second half penalty after he deemed Roger Ibanez to have fouled Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

On the advice of the video assistant referee (VAR), Maresca reviewed the footage at pitchside, but after several views, maintained his original decision and pointed to the spot.

Milan midfielder Franck Kessie scored the penalty to add to Ibrahimovic's first half free kick, and it ultimately proved to be the winning goal.

Maresca also sent off Milan's Theo Hernandez in the second half for a second bookable offence but Mourinho's men were unable to get back into the game, despite Stephan El Shaarawy's late strike.

Milan boss Stefano Pioli praised the courage of with his team, who moved back level on points with Napoli at the top of the Serie A table after the win.

"We played with character, with our ideas and approach," Pioli told DAZN.

"Roma are a quality side, we did very well with 11 against 11, kept trying to score more goals and that is the character we need in such important games.

"We're going through a positive period of form, so we’ve got to ride this wave, be courageous and confident, so I am very happy."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an emphatic free-kick for his 400th career league goal as Milan beat Jose Mourinho's Roma 2-1 to keep pace with Napoli at the top of Serie A.

It means Mourinho has lost a home game in Italy for the first time, while the visiting Rossoneri made it seven league wins in a row.

Roma made a bright start but Stefano Pioli's Milan soon took a stranglehold on the game, with Ibrahimovic at the centre of most of their good work and opening the scoring after 25 minutes.

Milan were too strong for their hosts, and a second-half penalty from Franck Kessie secured the points for the visitors, despite them going down to 10 men when Theo Hernandez was sent off. A late reply from Stephan El Shaarawy mattered for very little.

 

Ibrahimovic gave the visitors the lead when he fired a free-kick low and hard past Rui Patricio.

Milan thought they had doubled their advantage on two separate occasions as Rafael Leao and Ibrahimovic had goals ruled out for offside.

The away side were then awarded a penalty early in the second half after Roger Ibanez brought down Ibrahimovic, which Kessie duly dispatched.

Milan lost Hernandez to a red card in the 66th minute after his second booking of the contest. The Giallorossi then pulled a goal back in stoppage time when substitute El Shaarawy fired past Ciprian Tatarusanu.

But Milan, who have won more Serie A matches against Roma than against any other side (77), held on to secure the win and a 10th victory from their opening 11 games.


What does it mean? Milan keep pace with Napoli at Serie A summit

Milan remain neck and neck with fellow pacesetters Napoli after Luciano Spalletti’s men won 1-0 at Salernitana earlier on Sunday.

Milan and Napoli have now won 10 of their 11 matches in Serie A this season – only four sides had previously managed that feat in the history of the competition: Juventus in 2005-06, Roma in 2013-14, Napoli in 2017-18 and Juventus in 2018-19.

When in Rome, do as Ibra does

Ibrahimovic’s fierce free-kick brought up another landmark for the veteran Swede. His first league goal was netted on 30 October 1999, when 15 per cent of the players with at least one match in Serie A this season had not yet been born.

The former Manchester United attacker has also now scored 11 goals against Roma in Serie A, more than he has against anyone else in top-flight football.

Tough night for Tammy

Tammy Abraham was ready to write the headlines as he came up against his childhood friend and former Chelsea team-mate Fikayo Tomori, but it was the Milan centre-back who came out on top in Rome.

Abraham struggled to impose himself on the game during his 63 minutes on the pitch, managing only 18 touches, not winning any of his four duels and having just one shot on goal.

What's next?

Roma host Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League on Thursday, looking for revenge after their 6-1 thrashing in the reverse fixture. Milan host Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday, looking for the first points of their European campaign.

Jose Mourinho said he realises why is it "tough" to work at Roma, but the Portuguese boss is having "fun" in the Italian capital.

Mourinho returned to Serie A as Roma head coach at the start of the season after he was sacked by Tottenham last term.

The Giallorossi have not won the Scudetto since 2001, while not since 2008 have they claimed silverware.

Mourinho has found himself under some pressure in the wake of Roma's shock 6-1 humbling at Bodo-Glimt in the Europa Conference League last week, with the former treble-winning Inter coach scathing of his players in the aftermath.

As Roma prepare to welcome high-flying Milan to the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday, Mourinho was in a combative mood during his pre-game news conference.

"You always find the negative side of any situation," Mourinho told reporters when asked about Roma conceding goals after the restart. "It would be more frustrating for me to concede a goal in the first five minutes of the match. Honestly, I am impressed by your ability to pick the negatives out of everything.

"I am starting to understand why Roma is a difficult place to work. In other clubs, you feel more protection and positivity with the fans at home.  Maybe in Rome it's more difficult for that too, but that's okay, it's still fun this way."

Mourinho's Roma are fourth in Serie A, nine points behind Milan and Napoli through 10 rounds of the season.

After losing his first match against Milan in Serie A in 2008, Mourinho has won each of his last three top-flight matches against the Rossoneri, with eight goals scored and only one conceded.

In each of the previous nine occasions – in the era of three points per win – in which Roma have won at least six of the first 10 Serie A games, they have then finished within the top three positions in the table (currently six wins, one draw and three defeats).

"I like to play against the best and I think I convey well to the players this feeling of pleasure when playing against teams that are playing well, are higher than us in the standings and that have different goals than ours," Mourinho said.

"From this point of view, there are no problems, only motivations. When I was in Italy, Pioli did not coach in Serie A. Our teams have never played against. I will have the pleasure of meeting him and greeting him before and after the game. His work maybe has some similarities to what I have to do here.

"He deserves a lot of credit for what he is doing, but from the outside, it seems to me that we're talking about a club effort: behind him there are people like [Paolo] Maldini, just to give an example, and there is a good, stable structure, a squad that improves in every transfer window.

"If you compare the squad he first had and the one he has now – a very good evolution of the club, which is in a good position now, plays in the Champions League and is first or second in the standings. They're doing very well."

Jose Mourinho said he would shoulder the blame for Roma's humiliating 6-1 defeat to Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League.

The shock result in Norway came as a largely second-string Roma side crumbled woefully, although they still sit second in Group C after three games.

It was the first time in his 1,008-game coaching career that Mourinho has seen one of his teams concede six goals.

Mourinho said he expected more from his players, but told reporters they now knew why he usually selected the same group for games, rather than being a coach who rotates his squad.

On the night when his former team Tottenham also lost in the competition, Mourinho was left to accept responsibility for his Serie A outfit's embarrassing away trip.

"I decided to play with this team. The responsibility is mine," he said. "Obviously I had done it with a good, double intention. On the one hand, giving an opportunity to people who work a lot and don't play a lot. On the other hand, consider our squad and all the games we have to play, I let people who play practically always have a rest.

"Then, we lost against a team who have more qualities than us. It's simple. The main Bodo team is better than ours who started the game.

"If I could always play with the same men, I would. I believe that doing so is a great risk, however. In a group-stage game, with six games and six points already acquired and two more games to play in Rome, I decided to make these changes.

"I knew about the limitations of some of our players, it's nothing new, but obviously I expected a better response. But as the decision is mine, so is the responsibility."

Bodo/Glimt lead the way in the Norwegian Elitserien, and Mourinho saw his team go into half-time trailing 2-1, with a flurry of second-half goals showing the Portuguese the limitations of his fringe players.

Mourinho added: "I had never hidden it, I knew that the team had many limits. The good thing is that now at least none of you will ask me why I always play the same players."

Two-time Champions League winner Mourinho said Roma would face pace-setters Napoli in Serie A on Sunday "with the weight of a defeat that I would define as historic".

Jose Mourinho says he saw a "great" Roma in Sunday's 1-0 loss to Juventus and is convinced his side are moving in the right direction despite the defeat.

Moise Kean scored the only goal of the game at Juventus Stadium as Rodrigo Bentancur's header deflected in off the striker in the first half, with Jordan Veretout seeing a penalty kept out by Bianconeri goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Roma out-shot Juventus 15-6 and edged possession with 52.1 per cent, but were unable to breach the hosts' stubborn rear-guard in Turin.

Giallorossi boss Mourinho believes his beaten side did enough to win the match and is encouraged by the progress Roma are making under his stewardship.

"I can only say I saw a great Roma today. That's what I told my players in the locker room," Mourinho told DAZN.

"Obviously, we are talking about a defeat and zero points, but all I can say is that was a great Roma in every respect. Congratulations for the organisation, the hard work, those who played despite some physical difficulties, missing players through international duty.

"I saw courage, confidence, belief. Obviously, the defeat will always be a defeat, but if I look at the project, that means looking at the growth of the team over time.

"I might see it differently to you, but I saw the team that deserved to win ended up losing. That is football.

"All the words we heard from Juventus in the tunnel and the locker room, I hope they say it in public too. They know how much they struggled against us.

"I won here many years ago without playing so well, today we lost when playing very well and showing we are going in the right direction.

"I told the lads that when going into these games where you are not the favourite, you cannot go home with regrets. We played well, we neutralised their counter-attack and had absolute control of players like [Federico] Chiesa and [Juan] Cuadrado.

"We moved the ball internally, but when up against a side that defends that well with those two professors [Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci] it's not easy. I still feel we did more than enough to win or at least draw. I congratulate my players."

Roma were frustrated with the referee for awarding the penalty that Veretout failed to convert, blowing his whistle seconds before Tammy Abraham turned the ball into the net after Henrikh Mkhitaryan was fouled by Szczesny.

However, Mourinho declined to comment on the matter other than to confirm that Abraham had wanted to take the spot-kick, but had been turned down by first-choice taker Veretout.

"The penalty incident, I don;t want to comment on," Mourinho continued. "I don't have all the information at hand, I haven't seen the replays. I want to isolate myself from that incident and concentrate on everything my team did.

"Abraham is confident, he was fired up, but we have a hierarchy for penalties. Tammy is third behind Veretout and Pellegrini. If Jordan said he was ready to hand it over, that would not have been a problem for me."

Jose Mourinho has scotched suggestions he could become the next Newcastle United manager but acknowledged "an emotional connection" to the city.

Ahead of his Roma team facing Juventus in Serie A on Sunday, the former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham boss stressed he was not thinking about a Premier League return.

After the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund takeover at St James' Park, the expectation is that the club will see dramatic changes in personnel, with big-name players and staff arriving.

Steve Bruce remains head coach for now, but speculation surrounds his position, amid suggestions the new owners will want a higher-profile boss.

Mourinho would fit that bill, and has a track record of success in domestic and European football.

But when asked about the prospect of a switch to Newcastle, Mourinho frowned on the possibility and said he was committed to Roma, who are owned by American billionaire Dan Friedkin.

Mourinho moved to the Italian capital club in the close season, after his appointment was announced in May.

He said his passion for Newcastle is one that has been long held, stemming from his time working at Barcelona alongside Bobby Robson, who went on to manage the Magpies.

"The only thing I can say is that, for many, many years, I worked with one of the most important figures in the history of Newcastle, Sir Bobby Robson," Mourinho said.

"And so because of that I have always had a bit of an emotional connection with that city and that fanbase.

"But it's nothing more than that. I am here, I am really happy to be here, I am 100 per cent focused on the Roma project, the Friedkin project."

Paulo Dybala will miss Juventus' Serie A meeting with Roma on Sunday and he is a doubt to face reigning champions Inter next weekend. 

A thigh injury has sidelined Dybala since the 3-2 victory over Sampdoria on September 26, though he was still called up to the Argentina squad. 

The 27-year-old did not meet up with the squad after being assessed by Argentina and it was reported he would be fit for the visit of Roma to the Allianz Stadium this weekend. 

However, Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri insisted that is not the case and suggested Dybala could yet miss the Derby d'Italia against Inter at San Siro a week on Sunday. 

"During the week I was reading that maybe Dybala could play against Roma – maybe the return match! I think he will be available in a week, or 10 days at most," Allegri said in a news conference. 

"There's no problem with his recovery, he's on schedule. It was thought that maybe he'd need a few days less, but these things happen. 

"With muscle injuries you think one thing and believe you can do less. It always depends on the evolution of the situation." 

Roma have gained four more points from seven matches this season than Juve and will be out to avoid suffering a 10th away loss in Serie A in the calendar year - something that has not happened to them since 2012.

The match will see Jose Mourinho in the dugout at the Allianz Stadium for the first time since November 2018, when he celebrated leading Manchester United to victory over Juventus by cupping his ear to the crowd. 

Allegri has only won seven of his 20 Serie A games against Roma as a coach - a win percentage of 35 that is his worst against teams he has faced at least three times.

"Mourinho is a coach who has won a lot and I respect him a lot," said Allegri. 

"It's in his character to, every now and then, do something like he did with Manchester United a few years ago. 

"It pleases me to have a coach of his standing back in Italy." 

Mourinho is hopeful of having Tammy Abraham available for the game after the striker limped off during England's 1-1 draw with Hungary on Tuesday. 

"He will travel with us. We'll decide tomorrow whether he'll be on the pitch, the bench or in the stands. He's improving," said Mourinho. 

Juve have won three straight Serie A games to climb up the table after a woeful start and will be seeking to make it four in succession for the first time since July 2020.

Mourinho believes the depth in Juve's squad means that – despite them already being 10 points adrift of unbeaten leaders Napoli – they remain strong contenders for the Scudetto. 

"They're a very strong team and they always play to win games and the league. It's not a team of 11 good players, they have more than 20 good players with experience," said Mourinho. 

"The coach also has a lot of experience. Juve are a strong candidate [for the title]." 

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