Never change, Jose
Comments made by Roma manager Jose Mourinho have prompted an angry response from rivals Lazio, who took the unusual step of posting a statement to their club website, on Monday.
Lazio clinched a controversial late winner over Spezia on Saturday to move into a fifth, a point clear of Roma, who hosted Bologna the next day. Roma could only draw the game, which finished goalless, meaning Lazio remained above their city rivals on goal difference.
Clearly frustrated by the result, Mourinho – in true Mourinho fashion – used a post-match press conference to try to deflect away from his own team’s failings by making reference to Lazio’s winning goal.
With the score 3-3 as the game entered stoppage, Francesco Acerbi flicked home the winning goal, despite some claiming he had strayed offside in the process.
Mourinho’s comments on Lazio winner
“Another thing that never changes is that 22 years ago, you could win a match with a goal that is offside and you can still do it today,” Mourinho told reporters after the game. “Yesterday, a team won a match with a goal that was offside.”
The comments clearly touched a nerve at Lazio, who posted a statement the next day. Though it didn’t explicitly name Mourinho, it was clear who they were making reference to.
‘The fact that in 2022, an opposing coach repeatedly mentions other clubs and presumed referee errors and that, at the same time, journalists of proven football faith get worked up about the same matter, forgetting about their professional role and impartiality, proves two things,’ the statement began.
‘That Lazio is obsessively in their thoughts, more than other ambitious targets and that, as it usually happens, they look at someone else’s home to divert attention from failings or incredible incidents, in their favour, that occurred under everyone’s noses.
‘Despite the necessity to evolve the image of Italian football, some protagonists are stuck to accusing VAR and referees and too many times, lack of respect towards officials and lack of journalistic objectivity aren’t enough considered.
‘Lazio can’t accept criticism and institutions and believe that values are proven on the pitch, not on TV. Lazio will never be the excuse for somebody else or a scapegoat and will take action in the appropriate forums.
‘The club continue to avoid comments on decisions taken on the pitch, even when incidents against us occur.
‘That’s the case of Sandro Tonali’s foul on Francesco Acerbi in Lazio vs Milan or Roger Ibanez’s elbow on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the return leg derby, just to name two.
‘Decisive episodes which we didn’t comment on, out of respect for referees and VAR, respect that others don’t have.’
? Nota della Società
— S.S.Lazio (@OfficialSSLazio) May 2, 2022
Mourinho’s Roma will now turn their attention to the Europa League semi-final clash with Leicester City on Thursday.
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