Jose Mourinho has been accused of lacking respect by Roma’s rivals Lazio after he claimed their winning goal against Spezia should not have stood.
Roma and Lazio are locked in a battle to secure a top-six finish in Serie A, and Maurizio Sarri’s team sit level on points with the Giallorossi after earning a last-gasp 4-3 win over Spezia on Saturday, while Mourinho’s men dropped points in a goalless draw with Bologna a day later.
Having spent much of their match trailing, Lazio snatched a thrilling win when Francesco Acerbi flicked home in the final minute.
After Ciro Immobile became just the 10th player to reach 150 Serie A goals for one club earlier in the match, Acerbi’s winner was controversial as it appeared he turned home from an offside position, leading Mourinho to take aim at the decision to let the goal stand.
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Subsequently, Lazio have hit back.
“The fact that in 2022 a coach of another team repeatedly refers to presumed referee favours to competing teams demonstrates some things,” the statement began.
“That Lazio is obsessively in their thoughts more than other coveted professional goals; that, as often happens, one looks into other people’s homes to divert attention from missed results and sensational episodes that have occurred in one’s own home, in one’s favour, under the eyes of all.
“Despite the need to evolve the image of football in Italy, some players are stuck with the constant repetition of accusations against the referees and the VAR, [and] these offensive attitudes towards referees are too often overlooked.
“The Lazio Sports Society rejects the criticisms and insinuations. It continues to believe that values are demonstrated on the pitch and not in the television salons. Lazio will never lend itself to being anyone’s alibi or scapegoat and will assert its reasons in the appropriate forums.”
In accusing Mourinho of lacking respect for referees and other clubs, Lazio also claimed not to have commented on several refereeing decisions which they perceived to have gone against them in recent weeks.
These incidents included a potential foul on Acerbi in the build-up to Sandro Tonali’s late winner for Milan at the Stadio Olimpico, and an alleged elbow by Roger Ibanez when Lazio met Roma in March.
“The company’s line continues to be that of not discussing the decisions taken on the pitch, even when it comes to obvious episodes that occurred to the detriment of the Biancoceleste team, such as [Sandro] Tonali’s foul on Acerbi in Lazio-Milan on the occasion of the goal, or the elbow from [Roger] Ibanez on [Sergej] Milinkovic-Savic in the [Rome] derby,” the statement continued.
“[These are] decisive episodes on which we have chosen silence, out of respect for the referees on the field and the VAR, respect that others have not shown and continue not to demonstrate.”
The capital clubs are separated by virtue of their head-to-head record with three games left, with Roma boasting the advantage after winning 3-0 in March.
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