Roma manager Jose Mourinho subtly criticized Pep Guardiola regarding a transfer issue during the latter’s tenure at Manchester City.

Mourinho, in his third season leading the Italian giants, secured Europa Conference League success in his debut campaign and faced a Europa League final defeat to Sevilla last season. Under Mourinho’s guidance, Roma has secured consecutive European qualifications and currently holds fourth place in Serie A.

While the club has made investments during Mourinho’s tenure, they’ve heavily relied on loan deals this season, bringing in players like Romelu Lukaku, Sardar Azmoun, and Renato Sanches on temporary arrangements.

Roma acquired Paulo Dybala, Mile Svilar, Nemanja Matic, and Andrea Belotti on free transfers. Their record signing under Mourinho, Tammy Abraham, is presently sidelined due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

In contrast, Mourinho pointed out Guardiola’s significantly greater financial backing during his time at City, despite the club’s more targeted spending in recent years. While Guardiola’s signings have mostly been successful, there have been instances, such as Claudio Bravo and Nolito, where the acquisitions didn’t meet expectations.

Mourinho highlighted Kalvin Phillips, a midfielder bought by City for £42 million from Leeds in 2022, as a transfer that hasn’t yet fulfilled expectations. Although Phillips recently scored his debut goal for City, injuries and the form of other players have limited his opportunities in the first-choice lineup, casting doubt on his future at the club.

In response to Guardiola’s comments and the situation with Phillips, Mourinho subtly criticized Guardiola’s handling of the situation and drew comparisons between City’s flexibility in signings and his own limitations.

He remarked (as quoted by beIN Sports), “I’m not envious, but take Manchester City, for instance. They spent €80 million on Phillips. Now, in January, Pep mentioned sending him away and acquiring another midfielder. We exist in different realities. I’d like to bring in one, two, three, or four players—Tiago Pinto and the owners share the same desire to strengthen the team. However, we encounter obstacles in doing so.”

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