MAPEI STADIUM (Reggio Emilia): Having seen his AS Roma side lose a lead and two points late on against Sassuolo on Serie A Matchday 14, Jose Mourinho arrived for his post-match press conference with something that he wanted to get off his chest.
Far from being grumpy or sensitive to questions from the assembled press, Mourinho was as clear as he could have been with his words after watching his side draw 1-1 at the Mapei Stadium, and he did just that, with the help of his press officer by his side.
Asked about Tammy Abraham’s goal and its timing just before the World Cup – with the Englishman’s omission from Gareth Southgate’s squad not then official – Mourinho spent no more than a few seconds on Abraham.
“I spoke to the team and I spoke to two players,” Mourinho began in his press conference at the Mapei, at which Total Italian Football was present. “One is Tammy and the other will stay between me and them. I asked Tammy a question that he has to think about, because he showed an attitude [against Sassuolo] that he hasn’t always shown. I’m not talking about his effectiveness, I’m talking about his attitude.
“He was extraordinary. He held the ball, he won the ball, he always made an effort to win it back if he lost it. He was fantastic. Now he needs to understand why he did that today but not in other games.”
If Abraham’s attitude left Mourinho pleased in Reggio Emilia, there was one unnamed individual whose did anything but.
Mourinho and Roma: Happy with 15, betrayed by one
In his post-match interview with rights holders DAZN, Mourinho made it clear that he believed the team had been let down by one player.
“The effort of the team was betrayed by one player with an unprofessional attitude,” Mourinho continued. “Of the 16 players I played tonight, I’m happy with the attitude of 15. I’ve already told him in the dressing room that he should try to find a new club in January, but I don’t think [he will].”
Asked for as much as the position of the player, Mourinho simply said “no”, leading to speculation. Il Corriere dello Sport has reported that the individual is 27-year-old full-back Rick Karsdrop, who came off the bench in the second half and appeared to commit as many as three offences that got under his coach’s skin.
They note the first came as he took too long to prepare himself for his introduction as Mehmet Zeki Celik’s replacement. This led to Mourinho giving him his instructions while he was getting his kit on. Then there was the curious case of the Dutchman not joining his teammates as they celebrated Abraham’s opening goal in the 80th minute. The final straw was that Sassuolo’s equaliser came from his side, with many suggesting that h could have tried harder to get back into position to prevent Armand Lauriente’s cross from finding goalscorer Andrea Pinamonti.
While it is not been confirmed that Karsdorp is the guilty party, the evidence appears to point to that being the case.
Roma host Torino in Serie A on Sunday in their final game before the winter break, so Karsdorp may have already played his last game for the Giallorossi.