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Smalling breaks silence on Mourinho reunion at Roma

Chris Smalling, Jose Mourinho
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Chris Smalling has opened up about his reunion with former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho at AS Roma for next season.

Jose Mourinho is ‘the perfect man’ to bring silverware to AS Roma, says Chris Smalling.

The Portuguese is back in the dugout at Roma for next season. It’s the first time he has returned to Italy since leading Inter Milan to a treble in 2010. Of course, a lot has changed since then. Mourinho has not only tasted further success at other clubs, but he’s also coached many more players including Smalling.

The pair previously worked together at Manchester United. They won three titles together and Smalling even captained the club in the 3-2 EFL Cup final win over Southampton in 2017. Their relationship, however, wasn’t always so rosy. There was a time the duo disagreed over Smalling’s willingness to play through pain while injured. The defender insisted he was, but Mourinho implied otherwise.

Nonetheless, that’s all in the past and Smalling is looking forward to working under a familiar face in Italy.

“Ultimately, if the manager wasn’t speaking about you and didn’t want you to play and push, that is when you need to worry because he has stopped caring about you, he doesn’t want you involved and he doesn’t want you to play,” Smalling told BBC Sport.

“He is a born winner. He likes to push everyone to the limits. That is what he has done throughout his career and it has reaped results.”

Mourinho’s surprise appointment

After Tottenham sacked Mourinho in April, Roma announced the 58-year-old would replace Paulo Fonseca as their new manager for next season a month later.

Mourinho now intends to deliver on his proven track record by helping Roma win a first trophy since their Coppa Italia triumph in 2008.

“It was quite a surprise to a lot of us, but there was initial excitement from everyone,” Smalling said on Mourinho’s appointment.

“I knew the media would build up something about our relationship in the past. But from a personal point of view, it is a good thing because I have played under him.

“We have won trophies together. He made me captain in one of those finals – the 2017 EFL Cup final – as well, so having the chance to play under someone who you know is good, has been so successful and is so determined to win trophies at all costs is a positive.

“I know how big a deal it would be to bring a trophy of some sort to the club.

“Jose’s history shows the club has picked the perfect man to do that.”