Ex-Man Utd stars Mkhitaryan and Smalling may not like Roma hiring Mourinho

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Jose Mourinho has his newest role, less than a month after Tottenham came to the decision to dismiss him.

On Tuesday, Roma confirmed that Mourinho will be the club’s new manager at the end of the season, replacing Paulo Fonseca.

“We are thrilled and delighted to welcome Jose Mourinho into the AS Roma family,” club president Dan Friedkin and vice-president Ryan Friedkin said.

But while the ownership are happy to have recruited the 58-year-old, there are a number of players that may be somewhat less impressed.

Over the years, the coach’s confrontational style has had a tendency to rub some players up the wrong way – with a couple currently in the Roma squad.

During his time as Manchester United boss, Mourinho alienated large swathes of the dressing room, before he was ultimately replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan played a key role in United winning the Europa League in 2017, before he fell out of favour and was eventually part of the Alexis Sanchez swap deal.

And speaking recently, the Armenian admitted that playing under his soon-to-be coach wasn’t always the easiest.

Asked if he is difficult to please, he told Forza Roma : “Yes, I could say yes.

“He’s a winner by nature. He wants you to win and you do what he asks you.

“It’s difficult for anyone. There have been differences and conflicts, but they have not had a strong impact on good work and the three trophies won.”

He continued: “Once Mourinho saw me at breakfast and said to me: ‘Because of you, the press criticises me.

“I replied: ‘Really, mister? I’m not doing it on purpose’.”

Mourinho heads to Serie A, looking to follow Chris Smalling’s example of rebuilding his reputation in Italy.

But during the defender’s time under Mourinho, despite being a regular, he was singled out for criticism for a perceived lack of ability on the ball.

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  • When discussing the Europa League final win over Ajax, it was suggested that part of United’s plan was ensuring the former England international did not try and play out from the back.

    "What matters is that my players understand we cannot have doubts there – defensive creativity only in emergency situations,” the then United boss said.

    "We prepare a game better when we’re aware of our own weaknesses. Everyone said Ajax played beautiful football and that the beauty of the game matters. I told my players that, for me, beautiful is not giving our opponents what they want.

    • Jose Mourinho's last trophy: Where are Man Utd's Europa League trophy-winning team now

    "I even joked with Smalling – ‘With your feet, we’re for sure not playing out from the back! That’s where we won the game.

    "During the initial stage of build-up we never played from our centre-backs to our midfielders, because they are great at recovering possession pressing high. ‘In our midfield they didn’t recover the ball once. If the ball isn’t there, what are they going to press?"

    With months until his first training session in the Italian capital, there could be some awkward conversations behind the scenes.

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    • Jose Mourinho
    • Tottenham Hotspur FC
    • AS Roma FC
    • Manchester United FC

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