Welcome back, how are you?
‘I’m very happy. I had to prepare myself not to be too emotional for my arrival at the club but obviously I’m very happy.’
How big a decision was it for you? It’s not common for managers to go back…
‘It was an easy decision, I met the boss, the owner, and I think within five minutes after some short and pragmatic questions we decided straight away. I asked the boss do you want me back, and the boss asked me do you want to come back, and in a couple of minutes the decision was made.’
It worked out well for both parties; while you left you did what you wanted to do, and Chelsea have continued to do things and build on what you did…
‘It was a difficult moment, September 2007, because I love it here and I have a big connection with the club, and also for the club it wasn’t easy. But if you analyse it in a cool way, emotions apart, it was fantastic, because my career after that, I had everything I was aiming for in my career. I wanted to win the grand slam, to win in England, Spain and Italy. I did it, I got all the trophies in three countries. I got my second Champions League too.
‘I enjoy being in different countries, in different football cultures, and I think it’s important for my evolution as a manager and a football coach, and Chelsea Football Club got important trophies after that and had important moments in the history of the club. Now we are back together and we are getting together at a great moment for us both, so I think we are ready to marry again and be happy and successful.’
Chelsea fans hold up a banner prior to the FA Cup with Budweiser Semi Final match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in London, England. What’s the plan now?
‘The plan is always the same, evolution and to establish the club at the highest possible level. I left Chelsea in 2007, since then I’ve spoken about the club many times, especially in my privacy. I remember the day we went to the United States in 2004 pre-season.
‘We had open training sessions with only a couple of kids watching the sessions, nobody was following the team. It was the beginning of Roman and his second season I suppose was the beginning of Chelsea. After that Chelsea started winning the Premier League, for the first time and then the second time, and after that when we went back to the United States we found a completely different situation around the club.
‘I can imagine now after especially the Champions League, that was the highest point of the club’s history. This is now a bigger club, the social mass around the club is much bigger.
‘I am the same, physically the same, but every day you have to think about yourself and about evolution. I have the same nature but I’m much more mature with a different approach to things, I’m more ready to be in a club and stay for a long time.’
Normally you haven’t spent a lot more than about three years with a club so you are saying this is longer-term building?
‘I hope so, when you look at the profile of the Chelsea squad I think it’s what they need at this time. If you look from my time, there are around four or five boys and these are the older ones. It’s very important for this football club and very important for the balance of the squad, but it’s a young squad with a lot of talent and I think they need stability to reach a high point of their evolution and for their careers.
‘They need stability, stability I hope I can give them and between me, the owner and of course the club, we have no doubts about what we want to do and the approach we want to have. I’m very confident I can help the squad and I can help the boys to do better.
‘I think of myself not only as a Chelsea manager, because this is the first time in my career that I’ve arrived at a club that I already love. Of course, I go to a club, I love the club and I wear the shirt with the crest and I give everything I have to do it, but this is the first time where I love it already. To be at the same time a Chelsea fan and a Chelsea manager is a new feeling for me and it’s a fantastic feeling.’
Jose Mourinho tell Chelsea fans ‘chin up’
You have a head start with the fans as you are already popular…
‘I know I am [popular with Chelsea fans] and I know at this football club there is a culture for the fans to be loyal to somebody who gave. When I watch a Chelsea match on TV and I see, for example, a banner which says Didier Drogba, that’s fantastic, and it makes Chelsea a special club.
‘I know they have a special feeling for me. I played against Chelsea with Inter and it was difficult because I was feeling it wasn’t a normal situation for me, and I think the people in the stands felt the same as me, so I belong to them and they belong to me.
‘I think they know my nature, and they know I’m not coming here to sleep on what I did in the past and be comfortable just because we have a great feeling and we have a great relation, and probably the first day I put my foot in Stamford Bridge again they will sing my name, I’m not that kind of person and professional.
‘I’m very demanding of myself, I need of course their support, but I want to start from ground zero, I need to work hard again and build a different team from the team I built in the past, and I want to give everything I can to the club, to the owner and to the fans, forgetting a little bit that I was champion here and I want to have that pressure on myself like it is the first time I am here and I have to work hard and to make sure they have a reason to be happy with me.’
In the past six years you won the treble with Inter, had one incredible season in the league with Real. You say you are more mature now, how do you assess your development since you’ve been away from us?
‘Italy was something I wanted very, very much to do. Italian football is for sure the most tactical one, very difficult, especially if you are a team that wants to win, competing against teams that don’t want to lose. It was a big challenge for me. I arrived in a club where there was an atmosphere of frustration because they couldn’t succeed in the Champions League and we got that trophy and for the first time in Italian football the treble.
‘It helps me a lot to be more cultural. After Portugal and England I went to the football with a different perspective. It was a big challenge for me, I had to challenge myself a lot and to study a lot. I think I became a better manager living in Inter. I went to Madrid because I wanted to try to do the Grand Slam, the three most important championships in the world, and also because twice I had the chance to go to Real before, and I never did it because I decided to stay at Chelsea.
‘The last one was the day after we won the FA Cup final at Wembley, and I thought “no way, I am going to stay”. That was the third time, I wanted to go, I wanted another culture and another club with a worldwide dimension in terms of social approach and it was a fantastic experience for me. I think it was really important to get it in this period where I call it the last step of my formation as a manager. It was the last step of my formation. I just turned now to 50 and just finished my lap around European football.
Chelsea celebrate winning the Carling Cup in 2007
‘This experience in Madrid was fantastic because culturally it was hard, it was difficult. Portuguese and Spanish, and Spanish and Portuguese, and Real Madrid, a special club in a season where they have elections for the presidency, lots of politics around. Last year we beat the record and got 100 points and 121 goals. This season everybody was focused on the Champions League.
‘We reached the semi-finals and we all know, especially in this club, that semi-finals are a critical moment where you need that click to do it. In our club the semi-final we lost on penalties against Liverpool. The semi-final we lost with Guus Hiddink against Barcelona.
‘You have the semi-final that took us to the final when we won with Roberto, and we know in the Champions League semi-final you need that click. We didn’t have that click and couldn’t get the 10th European Cup that was an ambition for the club, but it was a fantastic experience for me and I think I arrived in my club, in my Chelsea, in the best moment of my career, of my stability of a manager, my stability as a person, always with my incredible family always supporting me and I think I arrived in my best moment ready to give everything I have to try to make the club happy.’
Seems like you lost your smile in Madrid, but you’re happier now?
‘I’m not happy, I am very happy. As I was saying I was preparing myself in the last couple of days to control emotions, to come here in a cool way but really emotional.
‘I try to hide it a little bit but I am so happy and so proud because I think when you return to a place it is for some reason, not just because you have good results in the past or because the fans like you very much, it’s also because as a human point of view you left something here.
‘People know the person I am, I kept a fantastic relation with the owner and the club, and it’s something that makes me proud to be back. Not just because of the professional I am, I believe so because of the person I am.’
Chelsea’s Frank Lampard (L) and manager Jose Mourinho celebrate their team’s win over Barcelona
Top three all under new management next season, very exciting time…
‘I think the Premier League is the Premier League. This season in terms of the Champions League, which is normally a thermometer of world football, I think English football was too early outside the competition. People were speaking about the level of the Premier League moving down comparing it with other countries, but I don’t believe so much on that.
‘Sometimes things happen and there are no really thorough reasons. I still think the Premier League is a fantastic competition and I don’t know but I can believe there will be five or six teams very strong. In my time here in 2004 it was more about us, Man United and Arsenal, and after that a gap to the other teams.
‘In this moment I think you can put five or six teams in the same plan, aiming to reach at the start, the Champions League spots which is very difficult at the time, with more ambition to win the Premier League again, and so the competition will be fantastic. I hope I can beat the competition.’
Will it be the priority?
‘We have to improve the team, and when I say improve the team people are already thinking about how many millions Chelsea are going to spend, and when I say improve the team I am saying improving by work.
‘My work has to improve players and improve the team. If I don’t do that I am not happy with myself. If after that we can improve the team by buying a couple of players it is fantastic but I have to improve the team and the players with my work. That’s a priority, improve. In the last two years we were struggling in the Premier League.
‘If you didn’t win the Champions League you would be out of the Champions League this year. This year we had to fight until the last match to qualify. We have to try of course to improve, but the priority in a club that reached the level is exactly that – improve individually, improve collectively and improve the structure of the club around the football team, and try to win the next match.
‘Which one is the next match? The Premier League? Let’s go for the Premier League. If the next match is the FA Cup, let’s go for the FA Cup. It is difficult for me to say something is the priority. The priority is to work hard, work professionally and make the team better.’
JOSE MOURINHO, CHELSEA MANAGER.
How are you thinking about the style of the side right now?
‘First of all I need to work with them, of course I like, and I like the profile, I like the fact we have three, four or five players from the beginning of the winning Chelsea, and I think they have to be always a part of the Chelsea soul, so I’m pleased we kept some of these boys.
‘The profile of the younger players with long-term space for improvement and development, I like very much that kind of profile. I’ve come with a four-year contract so if I read the situation with the immediate age of Hazard, Oscar, Luiz and these boys, I think it will be good for me to work with them and good for them to work with me. Together we can improve and make a better team than we have now.’
Can you tell us exactly what the staff you are bring with you are going to do?
‘Rui as we know is my methodology right arm, the guy that understands best my information and the way I work. He’s been with me since the beginning, the same as Silvino. [Jose] Morais started working with me at Inter, at the time Andre [Villas-Boas] went to coach in Portugal.
‘Morais does the same work Andre was doing, with scouting and analysing, working hand in hand with James Melbourne. He’s been a friend for a long time and has been coaching in many countries, in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Tunisia, Sweden, Morocco. He’s a guy with fantastic experience and he’s working in that area.
‘From the previous staff I get Christophe [Lollichon], Steve [Holland] and Chris Jones. They are people who have been here a long time and are very much trusted internally, and I’m happy to have them in my staff. From this moment they become only one staff, which is Chelsea staff, and we are going to work together and hard to try to give what everybody is waiting for.’
Presumably you need a holiday?
‘I am sorry we don’t start training tomorrow. I say to the players during the season when sometimes they look tired, victories make miracles. When you win, win, win, you are never tired. In my case, it’s not about winning, it’s about moving, moving to a place I love and happiness.
‘I’m so happy to be back; the players need a holiday, I don’t, I’m waiting for them and when we start they will find somebody with great motivation, in spite of my white hair, which I didn’t have in 2004.’
Asia, then America and then the Super Cup. You against Pep Guardiola, that’s a good start…
‘It’s not Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, it’s Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Mourinho did nothing to play this match, and Guardiola did nothing to play this match. The players did it, and the previous managers did it, so I will be in that match just by trying to help my club and my players win the trophy, nothing else.
‘It’s not going to be crucial to our work or our season. We have to go to pre-season, work hard in pre-season. We have club commitments, that’s also important, and socially it’s important to go to areas such as Asia and the States, and give what the club need us to give, but we have to work hard.’
Nine years ago when we interviewed you in our Chelsea TV studio, you looked in the camera and you said I can promise you quality, work and love and passion to bring success to the club. Would that be the same message you give today?
‘It is exactly the same message but now I can say I am one of you and that makes a little bit of a difference, I have never had that in football, I had in my career two great passions Inter and Chelsea and Chelsea is more than important for me. It was very, very hard to play against Chelsea and I did it only twice which was not so bad so now I promise exactly the same things I promised in 2004, with this difference which is I’m one of you.’
JOSE MOURINHO: THE SPECIAL ONE’S FACTFILE
Time at Chelsea: Played 185 Won 124 Drew 40 Lost 21 Win rate: 67 per cent
Mourinho’s record included a 60-match unbeaten run in home league matches.
SILVERWARE: Mourinho’s first trophy was the Carling Cup in 2005, when he also delivered Chelsea’s first championship title in 50 years.
PREMIER LEAGUE: 2004/05, 2005/06
FA CUP: 2006/07
LEAGUE CUP: 2004/05, 2006/07
COMMUNITY SHIELD: 2005
INDIVIDUAL HONOURS: Mourinho was twice named Premier League Manager of the Year, in 2004/05 and 2005/06
1963: Born January 26. Father Felix Mourinho was a former Portugal goalkeeper.
1992: After middle-ranking jobs at Estrela Amadora and Vitoria Setubal, works as Bobby Robson’s translator at Sporting Lisbon before becoming involved in team affairs.
1993: Moves to Porto with Robson.
1996: Joins Barcelona as assistant coach to Robson.
1997: Stays on under new coach Louis van Gaal.
2000: Lasts nine games as coach of Benfica before resigning due to problems in the boardroom.
2001: Appointed coach of Uniao de Leiria.
2002: Joins Porto.
2003: In Mourinho’s first full season in charge, Porto win the treble of domestic league, cup and UEFA Cup.
2004: Porto win the league and add the Champions League, with 3-0 victory over Monaco.
June 2 – Appointed Chelsea manager.
2005: February 27 – Wins Carling Cup with final defeat of Liverpool.
April – Chelsea seal Premier League title with 2-0 win at Bolton.
2006: April – Chelsea claim a second consecutive Premier League title and Mourinho’s fourth domestic title in a row.
2007: February – Chelsea win Carling Cup, beating Arsenal 2-1.
May – Chelsea lose Champions League semi-final to Liverpool, but win the FA Cup against Manchester United.
August – Chelsea set a new record of 64 unbeaten home matches in the English top flight with win over Birmingham.
September – Leaves Chelsea by “mutual consent”.
2008: June – Appointed Inter Milan boss on a three-year contract.
August – Wins Italian Supercup with victory over Roma.
2009: May 16 – Wins Serie A at the first attempt.
May 25 – Signs a contract extension at Inter until 2012.
2010: March – Inter knock Chelsea out of the Champions League in the last 16.
May 5 – Inter win the Coppa Italia.
May 16 – Mourinho claims his second Serie A title with Inter.
May 22 – Guides Inter to Champions League triumph with a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich.
May 26 – Madrid part company with coach Manuel Pellegrini and approach Mourinho.
May 31 – Unveiled as Real Madrid coach.
2011: May 3 – Madrid lose Champions League semi-final to Barcelona.
August 18 – Appears to poke then Barcelona assistant manager Tito Vilanova in the eye during Super Copa defeat at the Nou Camp.
2012: May 2 – Guides Madrid to their first Primera Division title in four years.
May 22 – Signs contract extension until June 2016.
August – Leads Madrid to a Super Copa victory over Barcelona.
2013: April – After eliminating Manchester United, Madrid are beaten by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-finals.
May 17 – Madrid lose the Copa del Rey final to Atletico Madrid, meaning the season ends without major silverware.
May 20 – It is confirmed that Mourinho will leave Real after the final game of the season against Osasuna.
June 3: Chelsea confirm Mourinho has returned to the club as manager on a four-year contract.