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    Roma director confident Mourinho will not leave for Portugal job

    Roma director Thiago Pinto is confident that Jose Mourinho will remain as head coach of the Serie A club, despite being closely linked to the vacant position in Portugal.

    Portugal are in search of a new boss after the departure of Fernando Santos after last month’s disappointing defeat to Morocco in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

    Mourinho is reportedly one of the many names in the frame, while the 59-year-old was also touted as a possible target for Brazil after Tite stepped aside.

    However, Pinto expects the Portuguese to stay at Olimpico, with whom he has a contract until the end of the 2023/24 season.

    “When you have a coach like Mourinho, you have to get used to the rumors,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    “For the first time in 18 months, a club or federation has become interested in him. At the training camp in the Algarve, nothing distracted us, we were focused only on work.

    “I’m Portuguese and every time we change coaches Mourinho is mentioned but we look forward to him in the future.”

    Last season, Mourinho led Roma to their first European Conference League title, the first European trophy for an Italian team in over 60 years.

    This was Mourinho’s fifth triumph on the continent, having won the UEFA Cup/Europa League and the Champions League twice.

    Roma are struggling to finish seventh in Serie A before returning to play Bologna on Wednesday, having won only one of their last five matches.

    Mourinho and Roma have also recently come under fire from the footballers’ union FIFPRO for their “mobbing campaign” against defender Rick Karsdorp.

    The defender was called a “traitor” by Mourinho after a 1-1 draw with Sassuolo in November, although the player was not specifically named, for alleged unprofessional behavior.

    But Pinto sided with Mourinho and confirmed Karsdorp were up for sale in the January transfer window.

    “After the words of Sassuolo and Mourinho, the player committed a serious professional misconduct by not showing up for training and going with the team to Japan,” Pinto said.

    “We avoided controversy by working with the player’s environment. Ricky is back, he’s been training and playing.

    “FIFPRO made a statement without even talking to Roma. Karsdorp never dropped out of the team despite not appearing twice.

    “These things happen in football, but many have forgotten the best version of Karsdorp, who started 60 games in 18 months under Mourinho.

    “We accept the criticism, but I cannot agree that the player is making the most of the situation to influence Roma.

    “It is on the market, but it will never go away for free. If he leaves, we have to find a way to keep the balance of the team, but not necessarily by signing a new defender.”

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