Jose Mourinho claimed his “disaster” years would be regarded as career high points by many bosses as he began life as head coach of Roma.
The 58-year-old rejected any suggestions he was in decline and set his sights on bringing success to the Giallorossi, his second Italian club after a highly successful two-year stint at Inter.
Sacked by Tottenham in April, Mourinho believes it could be a long rebuild at Roma, a club that last won a trophy in 2008 when they landed the Coppa Italia.
Roma’s last Scudetto came in 2001 when a star-studded side pipped Juventus to the title. Mourinho has won the Italian league title since then, guiding Inter to a Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble in 2010.
“I’m a victim of what I’ve done and the way people look at me,” Mourinho said in a news conference. “If you look at Man United, I won three times and was a disaster.
“At Tottenham I took over and took them to a cup final where I couldn’t manage them in, and it was seen as a disaster.
“In my last three clubs I won the league title with Chelsea, three trophies with Man United, I got to a final with Tottenham. We ended up in the Europa League.
“For me that is [thought of as] a disaster, but perhaps some coaches haven’t achieved that ever.”
The three trophies Mourinho is counting at Manchester United are the Europa League and EFL Cup from the 2016-17 season, and the Community Shield from the beginning of that campaign.
He left United after failing to build on his early promise there and was chopped by Tottenham before their cup final last season, caretaker Ryan Mason seeing Spurs through the final weeks of the campaign.
During his Premier League career, Mourinho had a points-per-game record of 2.33 in his 2004-07 first spell at Chelsea, falling to 2.00 when he returned to Stamford Bridge from 2013 to 2015, sliding to 1.89 in his 2016-18 stint at United and then delivering at 1.64 during his Tottenham career.
At Inter his team had a 2.18 points-per-game rate, losing just eight times in Serie A across two seasons, and they achieved a league win record of 64.47 per cent.
Inter made San Siro a fortress under Mourinho, staying undefeated there over those two campaigns, winning 29 games and drawing nine.
His Nerazzurri side struggled against Roma, however, winning just one of their four Serie A meetings (D2 L1).
Mourinho stressed he returns to Italy, 11 years after leaving Inter for Real Madrid, as a more rounded personality.
“Perhaps I’m more experienced and mature now and that puts me in a more solid position from an emotional standpoint,” the Portuguese said.
Roma finished seventh in the 2020-21 Serie A campaign, which leaves considerable room for improvement.
“We ended the season 29 points behind the winners and 16 points behind fourth place and we can’t escape from that reality,” Mourinho said. “First of all, we want to understand why and understand how we can change that.
“Time is a word that we all share. That was a key word when we met with the owners for the first time. If we can accelerate the process, all the better.
“We’re not speaking about trophies. We’re speaking about time, projects and work.
“Titles will come. For the owners a key principle is the idea they don’t want isolated success. They want to choose success and maintain success.
“That’s harder because it’s easier to get that isolated success. We want to be sustainable and we are completely united on that front. It is about hard work and the rest will come.”
He added: “I know the passion here, I’ve already changed my phone three times. Maybe it won’t be pleasant for you to talk to me, for me it is essential that everything stays inside Trigoria.
“I want to get to know the squad, that’s the most important thing. There are fundamental and non-negotiable principles. I want players to understand my principles right away. Anything that is not 100 per cent is not good.”