Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has, on Wednesday, taken firm aim at Lazio counterpart Maurizio Sarri.
Mourinho and Sarri are of course primed to lock horns for the latest time this weekend, when Roma and Lazio go toe-to-toe in a highly-anticipated Derby della Capitale showdown.
In the buildup to the clash, Sarri this week made use of the opportunity to play some mind games, in suggesting that Roma will essentially be playing a ‘friendly’ when they make the trip to Slavia Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.
On the other hand, the Italian tactician labelled his side’s Champions League meeting with Feyenoord last night a ‘war’ ahead of the Rome derby at the weekend.
Speaking in a press conference in anticipation of tomorrow’s action, the subject of his opposite number’s quotes were therefore put to Mourinho himself.
And the Portuguese tactician was typically ruthless in his response:
“The biggest game of a lifetime is always the next one for me, always,“ Mourinho began. “Since I started being a professional coach, that has been the case.”
“I think that if someone ought to feel offended about that comment, it is Slavia Prague and not me.“
From here, Roma’s boss took direct aim at Sarri, hinting that the mentality displayed by the Italian this week may be behind the lack of silverware across his managerial career to date:
“It is as if he said Slavia have no quality. I always respect my opponents. Perhaps this is the difference in a coach who has won 26 titles and another that has barely won anything: that kind of mentality.
“Every game must be taken seriously, there are no friendlies. I would love to hear the reaction of the Lega Serie A, because that was an objective and direct criticism. So I wait.”
Conor Laird | GIFN