Serie A was the best league in the world when Roma offered me the job of manager.
All of the best players went there. I was managing Benfica when they knocked out Roma in the UEFA Cup quarter finals the year before, which is the reason that that offer was made. When it came, in 1984, I took it – it was time to move.
I joined a good team, but an old team. They had had success with Nils Liedholm, another Swedish coach. A year before I arrived they had won the Italian league; the following season they played in the final of the European Cup, where they lost on penalties to Liverpool.
It was a team full of success, full of great players, and names. They felt like they were the kings of Rome, and I came there with other ideas.
I wanted them to run more, and be different. I struggled a lot for the whole first year – sometimes I questioned if going to Italy was the right move.
Before I accepted Roma’s offer, Barcelona phoned me and said: “Don’t go to Rome. Come to us, because in Italy you cannot sit on the bench.”