Roma coach Jose Mourinho has caused controversy with his recent comments on the Coppa Italia, calling it the "worst cup in Europe" due to its format and lack of appeal from smaller teams. The coach made the remarks following his team's 1-0 victory over Genoa in the Round of 16 of the tournament on Thursday.
“I think it’s the worst cup in Europe, it doesn’t protect the smaller teams. It doesn’t put on a show,” Mourinho said. He went on to give the example of Torino, who defeated Milan in the Round of 16 but then had to play their next elimination game away from home.
“Where is the beauty of Coppa Italia? It would be nice to play on a Serie B or Serie C pitch, where is that? Because people accept it”.
Mourinho did express a desire to win the Coppa Italia with Roma.
“First of all, I’ll say I would love to win it, 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.
“We played against a Serie B team with a full stadium, if there are empty stadiums they must understand why we are full and the others are not. “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? The coach also discussed the condition of player Lorenzo Pellegrini, who had some injury issues, and praised the teamwork and defense of his team in the victory over Genoa.
He also had high praise for player Paulo Dybala, who scored the lone goal of the match. Mourinho also had a message for the Roma fans, asking them not to boo his players even if they are underperforming. “I was sorry to hear some booing for Zaniolo, I ask people not to boo my players,” he said.
“When a player gives everything, he always has my affection. I was sorry to hear some booing for Zaniolo, I ask people not to boo my players”. Roma will now face the winner of the Napoli and Cremonese match in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.
Despite his criticisms of the tournament, it is clear that Mourinho and his team are determined to compete and win the tournament.