There’s never a dull moment in the game when Jose Mourinho is watching the from the dugout. With the football season just around the corner, teams are preparing for a long, gruelling year by playing friendlies across the world. On Wednesday, AS Roma took on the newly promoted Sunderland in the pre-season friendly, and while they won the game 2-0, it was Mourinho who stole the limelight.
With the game still locked at 0-0, AS Roma’s Roger Ibanez fell to the ground after a rash tackle from Sunderland’s Luke O’Nien. Ibanez looked in tremendous pain, and signalled towards his dugout for medical staff. As he was undergoing treatment, Mourinho stormed onto the pitch, demanding the referee to send off O’Nien.
However, O’Nien escaped with just a yellow card, and was later taken off. Mourinho’s frustration is quite understandable, given that he doesn’t want to lose his first-team players just ahead of the season.
Both teams struggled to assert their authority, and the first goal of the game arrived only in the 75th minute. Ten minutes later, Nicolo Zaniolo doubled Roma’s lead.
Mourinho led AS Roma to their first-ever European title last year, after beating Feyenoord 1-0 in the final of the UEFA Conference League. They will be playing the Europa League this season, and would hope to improve upon the seventh-place league finish last year. Mourinho has convinced Nemanja Matic to join his troop on a free transfer, and is now targetting ex-Juventus striker Paulo Dybala to bolster their attacking unit.
As for Sunderland, they have secured promotion to the championships, and the fans are optimistic of Premier League dreams, after Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and Juan Sartori increased their stake in the club to 81%.
“We know we need to add more, that’s obvious,” said Sunderland’s manager Alex Neil. “The difficulty you’ve got is to get the right deals, at the right price, within the structure we’ve got, sometimes you need to wait a little bit.”
Featured Image Credit: AS Roma