Roma director Tiago Pinto is confident Jose Mourinho will remain as head coach of the Serie A club, despite being strongly linked with the vacant Portugal job.
Portugal are on the lookout for a new boss following the departure of Fernando Santos after last month’s disappointing defeat to Morocco in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Mourinho is one of a number of names reportedly in the frame, while the 59-year-old has also been touted as a possible target for Brazil after Tite stepped aside.
However, Pinto expects the Portuguese to stay at Stadio Olimpico, where he is under contract until the end of the 2023-24 season.
“When you get a coach like Mourinho, you must be accustomed to rumours,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“This was the first time in 18 months that a club or a federation were interested in him. We had no distractions at our training camp in the Algarve, we were only focused on work.
“I am Portuguese and every time we change coach, Mourinho is mentioned, but we count on him for the future.”
Mourinho led Roma to the inaugural Europa Conference League title last season – the Italian side’s first European trophy in more than 60 years.
That was Mourinho’s fifth continental triumph, having won both the UEFA Cup/Europa League and Champions League on two occasions.
Roma are struggling down in seventh in Serie A ahead of their return to action against Bologna on Wednesday, though, after winning just one of their past five matches.
— AS Roma (@OfficialASRoma) December 31, 2022
Mourinho and Roma have also recently come in for criticism from footballers’ trade union FIFPRO over its “mobbing campaign” of defender Rick Karsdorp.
The defender was labelled a “traitor” by Mourinho after November’s 1-1 draw with Sassuolo, albeit without specifically naming the player, for supposed unprofessional behaviour.
But Pinto has sided with Mourinho and confirmed Karsdorp is up for sale in the January transfer window.
“After Sassuolo and Mourinho’s words, the player committed serious professional misconduct by not showing up for training and travelling to Japan with the squad,” Pinto said.
“We avoided controversy by working internally with the player’s entourage. Ricky is back, he has trained and played.
“FIFPRO made a statement without even talking to Roma. Karsdorp has never been frozen out of the team, despite not showing up twice.
“These things happen in football, but many have forgotten about the best version of Karsdorp, who has started 60 games in 18 months under Mourinho.
“We accept criticism, but I can’t accept that a player makes the most of the situation to affect Roma.
“He is on the market, but he will never leave for free. If he goes, we must find a way to keep the team balanced, but not necessarily by signing a new full-back.”
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