Jose Mourinho claimed Roma were unlucky in their 4-0 loss at Udinese, insisted Paulo Dybala was the best player on the pitch and labelled referee Fabio Maresca “perfect” for the hosts’ style of play.
Goals from Destiny Udogie, Lazar Samardzic, Roberto Pereyra and Sandi Lovric condemned Roma to their first campaign loss on Sunday as Mourinho experienced his heaviest defeat in a Serie A fixture.
Indeed, only once in his managerial career has Mourinho suffered a more comprehensive loss in a domestic league match, going down 5-0 to Pep Guardiola’s immense Barcelona side when in charge of Real Madrid in 2010.
Despite the heavy margin of defeat, Roma enjoyed a more significant share of possession (56.9 per cent) and recorded more shots (12 to 11) than their hosts. However, Mourinho believes defensive errors cost the Giallorossi dearly.
“Today we were unlucky; we gave away two goals which decided the match.
“I’m talking about bad luck because at the start. We were going strong with the opportunity created by Dybala, who was the best player on the pitch.
“It’s clear that someone can laugh after losing 4-0, but he gave quality. He had character.
“I told the players that when Udinese go ahead, they are good at everything.
“They are good at defending themselves, managing the timing of the match, going on the counterattack, and educating ball boys. But, unfortunately, we don’t have this last quality.
“A perfect match for them, a well-deserved victory, it’s hard for us.
“But I prefer a 4-0 defeat than four 1-0 defeats.”
Mourinho was furious with the decision to deny Roma a penalty when Zeki Celik was bundled over in the area with the scoreline at 1-0 but said that to blame the officials for the defeat would be “ridiculous”.
However, the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss could not resist a dig at Maresca, claiming his style of officiating suited the more physical hosts.
“When you lose 4-0, it’s ridiculous to talk about the referee.
“I think it wouldn’t even be fair to say that we lost to the referee; we paid for our mistakes.
“I don’t hide from you that when it’s a physical match like this and the first yellow card goes to the artist of the game [Dybala], it’s a bit contradictory.
“My principle is always the same. Before the matches, I never talk about referees. Then, after the game, I can say that our feeling is poor for him.
“But when we saw who he was, we realised that he had a perfect feeling with Udinese, for how they play.
“But we didn’t lose to the referee. He didn’t play a disastrous match. He played a match at his level.”
Mourinho was unhappy with criticism of his decision to field captain Lorenzo Pellegrini in a more advanced role than usual, saying: “We have already played with Pellegrini in that position. I was a commentator for a while in England. How easy it is.
“When you sit on a bench, everything becomes more difficult.”
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