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Love turns to bitterness for Mourinho as Inter storm the Stadio Olimpico | Serie A

José Mourinho cancelled his press convention earlier than Roma’s match in opposition to Inter on Saturday, denying us a window into his feelings as he ready to face his former membership in Serie A for the first time. Eleven years had handed since he left the Nerazzurri in floods of tears, hugging Marco Materazzi earlier than disappearing right into a Madrid evening after finishing an unprecedented Treble win.

He skipped the celebrations in Milan – fearing he might get caught up in a second and make a dedication that he would remorse. Actual Madrid have been prepared to rent him and Mourinho now had his eyes on a unique type of treble, including a La Liga title to his private assortment after conquering the Premier League and Serie A.

For the subsequent decade, he would profess enduring affection for Inter at any time when the alternative arose. But when he took the Roma job this summer time, he was fast to throw a number of jabs. His former membership had simply gained the league for the first time since he departed. “An remoted success is straightforward,” mirrored Mourinho, “for those who win after which don’t have the cash to pay the wages.”

His story alone ought to have assured us an engrossing spectacle at the Stadio Olimpico. Earlier than kick-off, travelling Inter followers hung a banner in the Curva Nord swearing Mourinho “everlasting gratitude”.

No matter nostalgia they could maintain for that treble-winning facet, nevertheless, none might have wished that Mourinho was again of their workforce’s dugout as they watched his present workforce take the subject. Materazzi predicted the match could be “a battle”. As an alternative, it turned out to be a slaughter.

Inter arrived in assured temper, having closed the hole on Milan and Napoli at the high of the desk in latest weeks. They tore into Roma instantly, opening the scoring when Hakan Calhanoglu’s nook snuck in at the close to submit in the fifteenth minute.

The Turkey worldwide later confessed that he had been “a bit lucky”, merely aiming for the close to submit as ordinary. There was nothing fortunate about Inter’s second objective, arriving at the finish of a 19-pass transfer that culminated with Calhanoglu feeding Edin Dzeko to rating after a mesmerising one-touch change on the fringe of the space.

Denzel Dumfries made it 3-0 to Inter earlier than half-time, heading house at the again submit. It was the first time in 21 years of administration {that a} Mourinho facet had trailed by such a margin at the interval.

There was no fightback, nor even a touch of 1. Roma fell to their seventh defeat of this season – greater than they’ve had at such an early stage in any marketing campaign since 2008-09 – but it was the complete absence of character from their efficiency that felt most damning of all.

This ought to have been thrilling theatre. Inter are the reigning champions and Roma have been supposed to be preventing this season to get again into the high 4. Francesco Totti was again at the Stadio Olimpico for solely the second time since he retired.

Mourinho’s historical past at Inter was simply certainly one of a number of juicy subplots. Dzeko declined to have fun his objective in opposition to a membership the place he scored greater than 100 of them. Nicolò Zaniolo, beginning up entrance for Roma, had a degree to show in opposition to the membership whose academy nurtured him earlier than throwing him too cheaply right into a part-exchange deal for Radja Nainggolan.

José Mourinho could only watch in disgust at his side’s capitulation.
José Mourinho might solely watch in disgust at his facet’s capitulation. {Photograph}: Federico Proietti/Sync/AGF/REX/Shutterstock

But the most damning indictment of Mourinho may be {that a} supervisor with a box-office repute couldn’t even make a sport with all these threads into the most attention-grabbing of the evening. It was overshadowed totally by a spectacular encounter between Napoli and Atalanta.

The place Mourinho lamented that his workforce had “no attacking potential” due to the absences of Tammy Abraham and Lorenzo Pellegrini – all whereas leaving final season’s high scorer, Borja Mayoral, on the bench – Napoli’s Luciano Spalletti surveyed a ruinous damage checklist and refused to be deterred.

The Partenopei have been with out Victor Osimhen, André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Kalidou Koulibaly, Fabián Ruiz and Lorenzo Insigne however their supervisor concocted a model new 3-4-3. His concept was to mirror Atalanta, daring his remaining gamers to present him their high quality in opposition to opponents whose whole system is based on a willingness to belief people to observe their instincts and embrace the one-on-ones.

That’s the reason Atalanta wind up so typically in conditions like we noticed in the 66th minute, with one centre-back – Rafael Toloi – threading a through-ball down the proper channel for one other – Merih Demiral – to rating emphatically at the close to submit.

Merih Demiral takes flight after scoring a goal that encapsulated Atalanta’s brilliance.
Merih Demiral takes flight after scoring a objective that encapsulated Atalanta’s brilliance. {Photograph}: Alessandro Garofalo/AP

This was a chaotic, spectacular, and joyous sport of soccer, wherein momentum see-sawed forwards and backwards. Atalanta have been first off the mark when Duván Zapata lower the ball again for Ruslan Malinovskyi to rating however Napoli responded with effective targets from Piotr Zielinski and Dries Mertens.

Then got here Demiral’s equaliser, earlier than Remo Freuler swept house an Atalanta winner at the finish of one other all-out assault. In the 71st-minute of a sport away to the workforce that had led the league at the begin of the weekend, Atalanta had 5 gamers flooding the opposition field.

Even Napoli’s supporters supplied an ovation to Gasperini and his workforce at full time. “Tonight’s sport, with even defenders scoring targets and providing assists, that’s my soccer,” he mirrored. “The type that I at all times thought I might create, and which Atalanta permit me to realise.”

Napoli might really feel optimistic in defeat, Spalletti proving his workforce might be dynamic and sensible even with out half of their beginning XI. They suffered defensively however might have scored extra and maybe would have gained have been it not for an additional damage at 2-1 to Stanislav Lobotka, whose nimble distribution had been an necessary counter to Atalanta’s excessive press.

They continue to be title contenders. Do Atalanta, who completed the weekend 4 factors off first place however seven above fifth, additionally belong in that dialog?

“This can be a narrative individuals carry on pushing on us – a bit as a result of they imagine it and a bit as a result of they need to put stress on,” stated Gasperini. “However there’s a actuality: we’ve got by no means been high of the desk in these previous couple of years. I can be ready to say that we’re in the working after we are high no less than one time.”

A affordable argument, and a sensible goal for a workforce who had already gained away to Juventus and drawn at Inter this season. Inter look more and more like favourites, hitting new ranges below Simone Inzaghi and boasting better depth than most rivals, however this race has a great distance to run.

Any notion that Mourinho’s Roma could possibly be a part of it, although, does appear to be fading. Throughout terse post-game press interviews he responded to a query about his workforce’s passivity by telling a journalist: “It’s simple to ask questions like this, your job is way simpler than ours, and that’s why we receives a commission much more cash than you.”

Mourinho is certainly, properly remunerated – his €7m web wage inserting him alongside Juventus’s Massimiliano Allegri as the best-paid managers in Serie A. Reminding us of that element could solely encourage his critics to ask whether or not he’s providing worth for cash, with Roma eight factors worse off than they have been at the corresponding level in the earlier marketing campaign.

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Serie A outcomes

Present

Napoli 2-3 Atalanta, Roma 0-3 Internazionale, Milan 2-0 Salernitana, Juventus 2-0 Genoa, Sampdoria 1-3 Lazio, Venezia 3-4 Verona, Spezia 2-2 Sassuolo, Bologna 2-3 Fiorentina

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