Jose Mourinho did not hold back in criticising his Roma team after they blew a 3-1 lead to lose 4-3 to Juventus, accusing players of being “weak” and “lacking personality”.
Roma, who handed a debut to new signing Ainsley Maitland-Niles, looked to be in control after goals from Tammy Abraham, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini.
But Juventus scored three times in seven minutes to turn the game on its head, before Wojciech Szczesny saved a penalty from Pellegrini to preserve the lead.
It is Roma’s second defeat in a row in Serie A, following a 3-1 midweek loss to AC Milan, and head coach Mourinho was far from impressed.
“We were in total control for 70 minutes,” the former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham manager told DAZN.
“The team played really well and had the mentality of taking control, we came out and started strong. We had this idea of the high press, of controlling the tempo and taking the initiative.
“It was so good for 70 minutes, then there was this psychological collapse. The 3-2 killed us, because Felix [Afena-Gyan] had an extraordinary game, which finished with a sprint against [Juan] Cuadrado. I take him off and his replacement [Eldor Shomurodov] gets it all wrong.
“When we allowed them back in for 3-2, a team with a strong mentality like Juventus, a strong character. The fear set in. A psychological complex. It’s not a problem for me having 3-2, it’s a problem for them. For my team.
“At the end of the day, when you’re in the s***, you get back on your feet and find your character. But there are people in this locker room who are a bit too nice, a bit too weak.
“I already told the players, if the game had ended at the 70th minute, it would’ve been an extraordinary performance. Unfortunately, it didn’t end then.”
The defeat is a big dent to Roma’s top-four hopes as they remain seventh, nine points behind fourth-placed Atalanta, who also have a game in hand.
Mourinho hopes that Maitland-Niles, who has joined on loan from Arsenal, will be followed by more reinforcements this month with “physicality and personality”.
“I never thought my personality was enough. I thought it could be a bit easier. For 70 minutes we played a game that is also a consequence of the talent we have, but in the main choices of the squad and the players who play there is often a lack of personality, even in managing emotions and in the game.
“I want to work here every day of these three years, not a day less. I need help from the club that really matches our potential. Now we’re signing two players on loan to help the team, one was Maitland-Niles and another midfielder who I think will arrive next week. A player with more physicality and personality, suitable to have some responsibility.
“This thing of playing in the comfort zone, of playing to be six to seven is too easy for some personalities. We need to get out of this mentality.
“After Milan I told the guys that it’s them who has to move closer to me, it’s not me who has to become similar to their psychological profile. I don’t want to.”