José Mourinho – FC Porto and a championship promise

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Mourinho had enjoyed success under Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal before embarking on his managerial career

José Mourinho Copyright Якушкин Иван and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence 3
José Mourinho

Starting out in football
Porto win Champions League
Chelsea success and struggles
Treble winner with Inter
Real Madrid overcome Barcelona
Football’s Greatest Managers

After his success with União de Leiria, Mourinho was given his first job at a relatively big club. FC Porto were one of Portugal’s biggest clubs although they were never a real threat to the top sides in European competitions.

He joined in the middle of the 2001-02 season and led them to third in the table. The bullish young manager then promised Porto’s fans that he would make them champions the following season. He proved to be as good as his word.

Domestic and European success

He put detailed reports about the player’s training schedules on the club website. They drew a bit of criticism for being pretentious. For example they described a 20 km jog as an extended aerobic exercise, but they received an equal amount of praise for the scientific and professional approach.

Overall in publicly displaying these reports, Mourinho was showing that he was his own man with absolute confidence in his methods, which would have encouraged his players to share that confidence.

In the 2002-03 season, Mourinho kept his promise to the fans and delivered the title for Porto. They won 27 of their 34 games and finished 11 points above Benfica. They also won the Portuguese Cup and were successful in Europe, winning the UEFA Cup, beating Martin O’Neill’s Celtic in the final.

It was one of the most successful seasons in the club’s history but an even bigger prize was just around the corner.

Champions League glory

In his short time at Porto, Mourinho had built a side that was easily the best in Portugal. They won the league with five weeks of the season still to go. At the end of the season he gave the club their greatest ever night and in doing so caused one of the biggest shocks in Champions League history.

He had put the club on the map in Europe with the previous season’s UEFA Cup victory and now they were serious contenders in the Champions League

Mourinho was unbeaten for 150 home league matches between 23 February 2002 and 2 April 2011, with FC Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

They made it to the final, knocking out Manchester United, Lyon and Deportivo La Coruña along the way. They met Monaco in a final contested by two rank outsiders. Porto won 3-0 and Mourinho’s name was suddenly on the lips of every football fan, journalist and club director in Europe.

Liverpool and Chelsea were both reported to be interested in signing him. Mourinho publicly stated that he would prefer to join Liverpool as he was worried about the stability of a club funded by a billionaire owner who could pull the plug at any time. However, Liverpool went for Rafael Benítez and Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea persuaded Mourinho to join their revolution.

Managing the richest club in the world

When Mourinho joined Chelsea in 2004, he famously said during his first press conference: “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.” The English football media loved his arrogance and charisma and have referred to him as ‘the special one’ ever since.

Chelsea had finished second to Arsenal in the table the previous year and Mourinho set about turning them into champions. He spent £70m on new players Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Tiago and Mateja Kežman.

In his first season Chelsea won the League Cup, beating Liverpool 3-2 after extra time in the final. They also dominated in the League. They finished top with a record 95 points, 12 points ahead of Arsenal and 18 ahead of Manchester United. Success and struggles at Chelsea – Read more

Starting out in football
Porto win Champions League
Chelsea success and struggles
Treble winner with Inter
Real Madrid overcome Barcelona
Football’s Greatest Managers

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