In quotes: José Mourinho

Chris Henderson, 12 February 2019

Love him or loathe him, José Mourinho is one of the most successful managers on the planet. He has won 25 major honours, including two Champions League trophies and eight league titles in four different countries. His CV speaks for itself, but he divides opinion more than any other boss in the modern game.

If the rumour is to be believed, upon finding out that David Moyes would replace Sir Alex Ferguson in the hot seat at Old Trafford, Mourinho apparently wept uncontrollably. In his book, ‘Prepare to Lose: The Mourinho Era’, Diego Torres claims that Mourinho felt humiliated and betrayed by Ferguson’s decision, his ‘interlocutors’ had heard him ‘sob loudly.’ The most feared man in the company was crushed.”

Mourinho did finally get his wish, however, but probably now wished he hadn’t. His toxic spell at Manchester United was characteristic of his apparent third-season syndrome. He was snappy and stubborn throughout, and it unravelled in dramatic fashion.

Below is a collection of quotes about the Portuguese boss – 10 from the man himself, followed by 10 from his fellow professionals. One thing is quite clear, Mourinho is not beige – people often have strong views about him either way. It should hopefully help to gain some insight into the brilliant mind of a divisive and complex figure in world football.

He is currently a free agent, and recently said he was too young to retire from the game. Watch this space.


On the situation at Stamford Bridge in 2009:

“Why have Chelsea suffered so much since I left? Because I left.”

On criticism of his style of play:

“It’s not important how we play. If you have a Ferrari and I have a small car, to beat you in a race I have to break your wheel or put sugar in your tank”

On the lack of funds available to him as manager of União de Leiria in 2001:

“I went to Brazil to find players with peanuts and bananas. You know, no money. They were very good. But after a year, I lost my peanut players and it was difficult”

On God:

“He must really think I’m a great guy. He must think that, because otherwise He would not have given me so much. I have a great family. I work in a place where I’ve always dreamt of working. He has helped me out so much that He must have a very high opinion of me”

In response to a BBC post-match interviewer singling out Michael Ballack for criticism:

“Not at all, I was very happy with Michael’s contribution today. He is a world-class athlete. What is it about pundits in England criticising Ballack? I mean, is it because he is German?”

“He’s a beautiful person. He’s a little bit like me”

On Arsenal Wenger:

“I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur. He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea”

“Am I afraid of failure? He is a specialist in failure. I’m not. So if one supposes he’s right and I’m afraid of failure, it’s because I don’t fail many times. So maybe he’s right. I’m not used to failing. But the reality is he’s a specialist because, eight years without a piece of silverware, that’s failure”

Responding to critical comments made by Rafa Benitez’s wife:

“The only club where her husband replaced me was at Inter Milan, where in six months he destroyed the best team in Europe at the time. And for her also to think about me and to speak about me, I think the lady needs to occupy her time, and if she takes care of her husband’s diet she will have less time to speak about me”

On Luis Garcia’s ‘ghost goal’ against Chelsea in 2005’s Champions League semi-final:

“You can say the linesman’s scored. It was a goal coming from the moon or from the Anfield Road stands”

On his former boss, Louis Van Gaal:

“Only people close to him really know him. He’s a beautiful person. He’s a little bit like me”

Criticising Manchester City’s Amazon Prime documentary:

“You can be a rich club and buy all the best players in the world but you cannot buy class… because I am in the movie I could ask for some royalties”


Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

”I like him. He’s the leader of his army. If Mourinho lights up a room, Guardiola draws the curtains…Mourinho was a guy I was basically ready to die for”

Sir Bobby Charlton:

(Referring to the finger in the eye incident) “A United manager would not do what he did to Tito Vilanova. Mourinho is a really good coach, but that’s as far as I’d go”

“Mourinho is like a second father to me. He is a powerhouse” – Wesley Sneijder

Patrick Vieira:

“He’s the manager who had more influence on me (than Arsene Wenger). He knew everything about the opposition, the strength, weakness. His detail was unbelievable; everything was so clear about what he wanted from each player. I don’t know what happened at Chelsea but he always got the best out of his players”

Sir Alex Ferguson:

“He goes and manages a small team in Portugal, then goes to Porto and wins the league, wins the Uefa Cup, wins the European Cup, goes to Chelsea and wins the league. Goes to Inter Milan. That is an example to anyone who wants to do well, you shouldn’t let the barriers get in your way if you want to get there”

Wesley Sneijder:

“Mourinho is like a second father to me. He is a powerhouse. He is a very special person for me. As a coach he is incredible, number one. It was he who gave me confidence and I enjoyed playing football like never before. Mourinho is a true friend”

Arsene Wenger:

“He’s out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent”

“If you think we are similar, I will have to revise my behaviour” – Pep Guardiola

Sir Bobby Robson:

“Jose was a personable young man. Very good looking – I told him not to stand next to me too many times. He was a marvellous asset, covering my back and looking after me while building up a good rapport with the players. Whenever I needed his support he was there, even though it often meant putting himself in the firing line. Here he was, in his early thirties, never been a player or a coach to speak of, giving me reports that were as good as anything I ever got”

Pep Guardiola:

“In the press room he is ‘el p*** jefe’ (the f**king boss) and the one who knows more than everyone else. I try to learn from Jose on the pitch, but I prefer to learn as little as possible from him off the pitch… If you think we are similar, I will have to revise my behaviour”

Cristiano Ronaldo:

“I have played for so many great coaches, but José Mourinho was a big thinker analytically, he went into everything in great detail. I would put him at the top (above Ferguson), I always say that”

Frank Lampard:

“He formed a spirit among the team that was formidable. We didn’t have a group mentality to win the league but he brought that in. And we have seen the same thing happening for him at Inter Milan and with his Real Madrid team. For me, Jose was the best”

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Chris is the founder of The Football Brief. He runs our regular series and can usually be found waxing lyrical about Blackburn Rovers and R9.

By |2019-02-13T12:37:30+00:00February 13th, 2019|

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