José Mourinho diverted his post-match interview following Roma’s victory in the Coppa Italia on Thursday to discuss his place in the running for the recently-filled Portugal vacancy.
Roberto Martínez was hired as new Seleção boss at the start of this week, with Portuguese Football Federation president Fernando Gomes suggesting the Spaniard was the first choice for the role.
Gomes was asked specifically if Mourinho had been a contender for the position, replying somewhat ambiguously. “What interested me from the first hour was defining the profile,” Gomes said on Monday during the presentation. “We spoke, within this, to many people. The only concrete proposal we made to be a coach, was Roberto Martínez.”
After Roma overcame Genoa at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday, Mourinho referenced Gomes directly. “Today I can talk to you and say something that maybe you are not very interested in, but I want to thank the president of the Portuguese Federation,” Mourinho began.
“What he said made me very proud, saying that I was not the first choice, but his only choice and that he would have done anything to get me home. He made me very happy. But I didn’t go, I’m here and I’m giving my all.”
Mourinho was in typically headline-grabbing form after his Giallorossi side advanced to the quarter finals of the Coppa Italia. The competition has come under criticism in the past for a structure which sees the higher-positioned clubs play the ties at home, making it less common for the country’s smaller sides to mount a challenge for the cup.
“First of all, I’ll say I would love to win it,” Mourinho said. “I won it once playing against Roma, I would love to win it playing with Roma in Rome. I think it’s the worst cup in Europe, it doesn’t protect the smaller teams.
“It doesn’t put on a show, I’m talking about Torino for example who win on the pitch of the Italian champions Milan, then they have to play the next elimination game away from home, I don’t understand this structure of the Coppa Italia.
“Last year we finished sixth, the year before we finished seventh and I want to invest in the Coppa Italia, but a lower team doesn’t want to play, what motivation do these people have?
“Torino won against the Italian champions, they made great history in the Round of 16 and they have to play away. Where is the beauty of the Coppa Italia? It would be nice to play on a Serie B or Serie C pitch, where is that? Because people accept it.
“The next elimination game will be either in Naples or at home with Cremonese, if we lose like last year, we’ll lose but we’ll try to win. For a squad like ours, playing three competitions together is very hard.”
By Sean Gillen