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Mourinho May Return… But Never To United

Manchester United fans were first introduced to Jose Mourinho in the Champions League during the 2003-2004 season. Following the wrongful ruling out of a Paul Scholes goal, Mourinho’s Porto progressed to the next round after a late goal. They were entirely defensive in both legs, diving and cheating their way through. Credit to them, it worked, but it certainly wasn’t kind on the eye.

In Mourinho’s first game in charge of Chelsea, he beat a weakened United side at Stamford Bridge. Whilst United dominated in terms of possession and chances, Chelsea defended like the away team, and came away with three points because of it.

Three years later, finishing his last season in charge in second place, after Sir Alex Ferguson lead United out of their supposed ‘decline’ Mourinho was sacked. Yet for some reason, despite his dull, uninspired tactics, there are United fans who’d like to see him take over from Ferguson, and it seems that Mourinho is maybe thinking the same thing.

“I’m in love with the English league and I’ll definitely return one day,” Mourinho said. “I think that’s what I want to do after Inter. Everyone says I want to go to Spain or I want to be the coach of my national team. It’s not true. I want to return to England after Inter. But I have a contract with Inter and I’m happy here.”

What did Mourinho do with his time at Chelsea? He lead the team which was built by Ranieri, that had finished 2nd in the league and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, to title wins when their competition was poor. United, Arsenal and Liverpool weren’t up to much at all for those two seasons (United finished the season in 3rd with 77 points in 2005, 6 fewer points than Arsenal finished with in 3rd in 2008. United finished the season in 2nd with 83 points in 2006, again, less than 2nd placed Chelsea in 2008), and whilst credit must go to him and his team for winning the league, Avram Grant had a much more difficult job to do last season, and he took the title down to the last day and reached the European Cup final. Do we want Avram Grant as the next manager then?

I came across the match report of Mourinho’s first match in charge from The Guardian:

Only Chelsea supporters could have sat rapt in the Stamford Bridge lecture room. They appreciated the meticulousness of a side that adopted a defensive stance for most of the afternoon. The team may have won by the same score on the last meeting of these clubs at this ground but everything has changed utterly.

While Claudio Ranieri would consider a fixture wasted if he could not insinuate some eccentricity into it, his successor Jose Mourinho is wedded to practicality. His triumphant Porto side could come up with flourishes in the midst of their conservatism and Chelsea will surely do likewise eventually.

That just about sums it up for Mourinho. His teams are efficient and hard-working, but were they ever thrilling or exciting to watch? Scolari has just started with Chelsea, but did you ever see a Mourinho team play as well as Chelsea are this season? Already the Brazilian has got the rent boys playing the kind of football you don’t mind watching. Under Mourinho, they were dull. Effective, certainly, but boring and lifeless. Yet this is the man some people want to see replace Ferguson? 

I  can only hope that Mourinho has got his eye on Liverpool, not fancying the chances of Rafa Benitez making it through another couple of years without a title challenge (yes, yes, I can see where they are in the table now, but their opposition isn’t going to get a man sent off to allow them to come from behind every week of the season). I’d like this too, then we could really hate Mourinho.

He was a man I liked to begin with, the ‘breath of fresh air’ the Premiership needed, but between his lies and low rent behaviour, the air became rancid and stale. The football his teams play is not good enough for United, simple as that. The players he buys (unless the top players around Europe who all big teams were after, but Chelsea could afford to outbid everyone on e.g. Michael Essien, Michael Ballack etc.) are not good enough for United, simple as that. I don’t want the likes of Ben Haim, Sidwell, Boulahrouz, Kezman, Ferreira, Pizzaro etc. at United! You might say Fergie has made his errors in the transfer market, which he has, but nothing close to scale we’re working with when looking at Mourinho. Don’t forget he was there for just three years! Mourinho’s total spending was £225.76 million, yet in his last season, when he should have created something close to the perfect squad, they were eight points behind United on the day the title was won.

He’s not special, he never was, and he certainly isn’t capable of taking on the job at United!

Would you have Mourinho as United manager?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. PeeJay says:

    His Inter Milan side won 4-0 yesterday, against Roma none the less, in Rome. That’s something we never managed in three away games in Rome in the last two years. His Chelsea side wasn’t exciting but that doesn’t mean his eventual United side wouldn’t.

    He’s a likeable character and no player has ever talked badly about him, world class players like Ibrahimovic and Drogba praise him on a regular basis, with Ibrahimovic saying he’s never trained so well.

    I like his interviews and nobody can doubt that he’s an exceptional manager, he may have managed Chelsea but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s Chelsea through-and-through.

    I think the European/Portuguese influence on United is a very good thing and would welcome a successor like Mourinho or Queiroz. Also considering that we have Evandro Brandao, the Da Silva twins, Manucho, Rodrigo, possibly this Douglas chap whomever he may be, the already established players Like C [dot] and Nani I think that a Portuguese speaker would be very positive.

    I know you’re all going to argue with me on this but there’s a reason the F.A. chose an Italian manager, most English managers aren’t up to it.

  2. Anant says:

    hated him from day 1 . would be disastrous if he took over united . however , i think he wants the england job . that would be the most likely progression in his career . also , if you look at his career , he is way more concerned about himself than the club he manages . wins something with each club n then leaves for greener pastures . tell me , is that the kind of manager you would like for us to have ?
    also , the f.a. are daft enough to appoint him

  3. Anant says:

    would love someone with united in his blood to take over next . someone who knows what this club is about and what it stands for . brucey , hughes , ole , keano….or who knows , maybe even giggsy or neville ?!….for some reason i cant imagine scholesy becoming a manager…all those interviews he’d have to do !…martin o’neill also looks like an exciting option at present (he’s getting villa to play some pretty decent football , and for once i am actually dreading a visit to villa park this year)

  4. Scott the Red says:

    PeeJay – when we played Roma, they were in the top two in Italy. Roma are not that same club this year, losing 4 of their 7 league games. Coupled with that, Roma would of course play differently in their own league than in the CL.

    Regardless, one result matters little and can’t be used as evidence for appointment. Should McClaren have been offered the United job when his side beat us 4-1?

    But then all of that matters even less, if I’m discussing this with a person who thinks what Drogba has to say is worth anything! lol.

    I’m not particularly looking for an English manager. We’ve done alright for the past 22 years without one, so I’m not going to fuss over that now.

    What are you basing him being an ‘exceptional manager’ on? Porto, Chelsea and Inter were all in the top two of their league when he took the job. How would you describe Fergie if Jose is exceptional?

  5. n667 says:

    i want steve bruce to take over, guess witha nother 3 yr experience , he’ll be good enuf! i would written sparkys name , but for obvious reasons i wont!!

  6. bossdem says:

    mourinho is his own biggest fan. im quite sure of this.
    -peejay. u say his ex players liek him? well, if he,d just spent two years licking ur ass, playing you every week and calling you untouchable, then i think you,d be praising him too.
    not saying hes not one of the top managers about, cos he is, but he twisted the cock sucking english press round his little finger so that they believed every word he said. they were willing whores cos he was a stick to try to beat us and the “real special one” with.
    if maureen came back to manage us, does anyone really believe the press would be so friendly with him.? would they fcuk!
    that bullshit he came out with about not having any eggs for his omlette when he had one or two injuries was PATHETIC!

  7. PeeJay says:

    Oh I see, winning the Champions League with Porto isn’t an accomplishment is it? Is that something all managers would be able to do? He beat us with a mediocre team, never lost a League game at home in three years or so. Yes, of course the fact that Drogba was crying and the rest of the Chelsea squad were upset when Mourinho left counts for something, they’re all normal people just like the ones that play for us, you may not like them but they’re not subhuman. At Inter Milan he’s getting praised by his players, who all say the changes have been positive.

    Sometimes people take the rival thing too seriously.

  8. bossdem says:



  9. Kings says:

    Never in a million years would I want to see him at United. He is a cunt. I hated him the first time I saw him, especially when he was running down the touchline when Porto knocked us out in 2004. I think what cemented his status as a cunt was in the final when Porto won it, the way he took off his winners medal without showing any enthusiasm showed complete utter disrespect, considering any Manager worth their salt would of given their right arm to be in that position. His tactics are boring, and I would hate to see him come to United and instill such negativity to a club which prides itself on open attacking football. Fuck off you cunt you are not welcome.

  10. Stephen says:

    I do remember that we had a perfectly good goal disallowed, and Mourinho behaved like a complete wanker to boot.

  11. Stephen says:

    Peejay, he has no class, we do not want that type of person in charge of our club, he is all about himself not his team, we are United not Chelsea he is an egotistical scumbag.

  12. Ste says:

    Porto werent mediocre

    They had Deco, Carvalho, Maniche, Ferreira, Costinha

    Looking back were they really mediocre?

  13. PeeJay says:

    Ok, maybe mediocre was pushing it. Decent is better, yet, he managed to win the Champions League with a decent team, most managers do it with outstanding teams.

  14. Scott the Red says:

    PeeJay – I assume you’re a member of the Rafa Benitez fan club then? He won the CL with the 2nd best side in Liverpool. Exceptional?

    It’s nothing to do with the ‘rival’ thing. If Chelsea had a manager who inspired brilliant football, turned around mediocre teams in to brilliant teams, and spent really well, then I’d be happy for him to manage United. But that isn’t Mourinho, is it?

    He spent £225.76 million on players and the end product was a side that finished 8 points behind us on the day the title was won. Exceptional? Get lost! lol

  15. TK 99 says:

    David Gill said when Abramovic dumped him,that “we wont consider him as a mannger because of his high profile”…

  16. swapnil says:

    i would much rather have carlos quieroz manage us when fergie retires rather than jose!!!

  17. Primachenko says:

    hell no…

    hate that prick…would rather have a local janitor be the manager than him.

  18. Penguin says:

    I don’t particularly like him, but he’s streets ahead of some of the other candidates I’ve heard mentioned. Steve Bruce? Please, he yo-yo’ed with Birmingham for years and has no qualifications for the United job other than that he used to play for us.

    Equally, Carlos Queiroz is a great assistant, coach and judge of talent but has done nothing ever to suggest he’d be a good manager in his own right.

    My pecking order for the United job if we had to choose tomorrow:

    1. Martin O’Neill (by such a long way)
    2. Mark Hughes
    3. Fabio Capello
    4. Jose Mourinho
    5. Roy Keane

    Nobody else deserves to be on my radar at the moment.

  19. barca says:

    the funny thing is that all of u seem to think that he actually wants to come to your club.

  20. Stephen says:

    What qualifications has Keane got over Brucie?

  21. steve says:

    I got to say why you guys hate him so much, the way some of you speak about mourinho is like he as killed someone. Penguin your list of managers to take over from fergie is mediocre at best except for Fabio Capello and Jose Mourinho who are some of the best managers in the game today.

    Martin o neil is vastly overrated who as not managed the big time players and his style of football at times is poor and dull even the celtic fans wanted him out in the end, Hughes as shown at city he as a long way to go before he can even handle the united job because man city are at times just clowns playing the game giving away 2 goal leads and what was robinho doing scoring an own goal isn’t he supposed to damage in the other end, Fabio Capello is worse then mourinho in terms of style of football, and roy keane as just got into management and he has not set the pulse racing with Sunderland with his style of football and the buys he has made. atleast mourinho at times as shown he is willing to play good attacking football but like I said of he is not willing to have his teams play some attacking football then I would not have him manage united. your order I would have put it is

  22. Stephen says:

    Roy Keane’s record is average at best, and he has bought poorly and expensively, he certainly should not be on the radar, bar being an ex player.

  23. RedMsit says:

    No thanks, Mourinho. I would be gutted if we got lumbered with his dull “style” and his idiotic arrogant ramblings. He is not United material. Neither, for that matter is O’Niel, Hughes, Keane or Capello. O’Niel, over rated under achiever..apart from with Celtic, but who wouldn;t win the title up there with Celtic or Rangers. Winning promotion and securing top flight football on a shoe string budget is totally different to being in charge of the biggest club in the world. Hughes has made his bed, let him lie in it. Also a self confessed Chavski fan. Keane, great leader on the field, but a proper c**t. I think United should look at what Brucey is doing at Wigan, if he continues to improve the way he is doing..he’s got to be a candidate. The most “United” one out of Hughes, Keane and Bruce himself, imo. But to be honest i don;t think it will be an old boy who gets the job…..Lippi for me, all the way. The most exciting, attacking Italian coach, Plays 442 usually, the stand out coach in Italy (or even the world), one of Fergie’s best mates, he seems to know what United are all about….oh and he bloody loves Wayne Rooney.

  24. Penguin says:

    Stephen – only for potential, and I don’t necessarily agree he has bought poorly. I do agree that he shouldn’t be next in line, though – but if all the other four decline, we’ll be in that sort of “take a punt” category anyway.

  25. Anant says:

    agree with redmsit….lippi would be a brilliant signing …but i think its highly unlikely . also , there arent any italian speakers in our squad bar petrucci .

  26. Taehr says:

    I dont like mourinho but the man can make winning teams.The first season chelsea had in the premiership was many points did they get?Id take him over all the british managers..bruce,keane,hughes,o’neill…

  27. Tony Starks says:

    have to disagree with the writer of the article, then again football fans are not known for giving credit to other teams achievements

  28. Gapi says:

    No fucking way!

    I’d rather give one of our ex-players a chance. At least they would have some passion for the job, while Mourinho shows no class and plays dull, boring football.

    I still can’t believe some of you would take him…

  29. klauq says:

    Mourinho is no doubt one of the best manager in the world of recent history.
    Can anybody imagine Porto winning another CL two/three years from now? I just can’t.. But Mourinho did it. He just did it. Love him or loathe him, he is one of the best we have these days.

    But then, can you imagine MU plays so ugly like Chelsea and Porto used to play? So please stop wishing him to be a red devil.. He’s way’s just too ugly..

    I love to see one of our ex-players take on the job. Because all the other big clubs in the world do that way. It’s tradition. Not many club in the world can afford to appoint one of it’s ex-star. And in EPL, I think only MU and Liverpool can. Because only MU and Liverpool have big enough ex-star.

  30. steve says:

    Penguin yes very true but look at wenger who for me I am not his biggest fan and is another manager who is vastly overated who as relied on the buys he has made rather than the trophies he has won abd its coming to 2009 and he last won the league in 2004, but he has not spend a fortune on players and has been quiet successful not great yet keane’s team is even more expensive then arsenals but to be honest that is really harsh on keane what I am saying is he needs more time in management not rush him into a job like united. I am not saying keane will never be successful at united but he needs at least 5 to 6 or even 10 years in the game to even be in the running to be a united manager. At the moment I can’t think of a manager to take over from fergie at this moment of time just as I can’t think of a name to replace ronaldo.

  31. PeeJay says:

    I also hate the bullshit the press feeds us about ex-players being realistic candidates for the job. At the moment there are only about 8 world class managers about that I can name; Spalletti, Ancelotti, Lippi, Capello, Scolari, Ferguson, Mourinho and Wenger, there are other excellent managers that have made newly-relegated sides UEFA Cup place contenders that I’m not going to name as they have never managed really big sides. The only ex-player that would play exciting football, in my opinion, would be Cantona but that doesn’t mean we would win.

    Queiroz is doing an excellent job with Portugal aswell.

  32. Malino Ubah says:

    Once a blue,always a blue.
    Once a red,always a red.
    Once an enemy,always an enemy. Red is the color.

  33. Kingpin says:

    You cant argue with Mourinhos achievements. Whether he won the CL by fluke, or won back to back EPL titles because we were poor… The fact is, he is a winner who knows how to manage the media and his players.
    Having said that, i wouldnt be able to stand watching us play if he was in charge of us. I would die of boredom.

    If fergie was to retire right now, i think the only real candidates we could consider are CQ who knows the club and players better than anyone else, or Martin O’Neil who was at one stage the medias favourite to take over when fergie planned to retire a few years back,and would probably be the best british manager in the game if fergie retires. Not many others would be available

    I think right now there are quite a few good young managers out there who could, with abit more experience and the right structures in place, do well for us…The likes of Paolo Bento of Sporting, Slaven Bilic of Croatia, Mark Hughes at Citeh (i would have to put all rivalry aside when making the most important decision the club has had to make in the last 20yrs) Roy Keane and Steve Bruce, Zola at West Ham who did well with the italy u21 team, Marco van Basten who ran a tight ship with the dutch national side, Michael Laudrup who did very well with Getafe and Didier Dechamps who did an admirable job with Juventus.

    You would also have to consider Roberto Mancini, Frank Rjikaard, David Moyes and even Maarten Jol who could all do very well with the right support structures.

    I think the most important thing for us would be continuity after fergie goes…i could see mayb CQ come in as a Director of Football role (if saf does not think he should be the manager) to help and guide a younger (very likely foreign) manager with a vastly experienced british assistant.
    Or maybe CQ as manager with one of the old boys (bruce,keane or even Ole) as an assistant learning to manage at the top

  34. OTRed says:

    I’m actually agreeing with Steve here? Whats so bad about Mourinho anyway??? Porto knocked us out and he celebrated, so??? Thats a very stupid reason for disliking him. If theres any reason why he shouldn’t manage United, its because of his style of football, not because Porto knocked us out and he acted like a cnut. Its amazing to see United fans mention names like Bruce, Giggs, Neville??? Have you all gone bonkers? I think everyone is getting carried away with this legend nonsense, so we should get Bruce, Giggs or Neville who are not even up to a quarter of the amazingness that is Fergie just because they have United running in their veins? Puh-leeze. The same United fans saying that will probably be the same ones panicking and getting depressed if those players manage us and are cr@P

    If during his two year stay at Inter, he manages to improve his style of football , he’d be on my list to replace Fergie, but if he doesn’t, then I’d loathe to see him at United, i actually don’t see whats so lurdricous about it. I’d take anyone as long as he’s experienced enough, plays good football, whether or not he has United running through his veins isn’t my business, i’m pretty sure Fergie never had United running through his veins in 1986.

  35. Mic says:

    I didn’t mind Mourinho, only thing annoyed me was he was a bad bad loser…like our manager though, I don’t know who I want to replace SAF but we could do alot worse than Moroniho. I just wish SAF could stay on forever!!

  36. Hughsie88 says:

    To say that the Celtic fans wanted O’Neil out is not true at all. If you look at the circumstances that O’Neil left Celtic in (i.e. the poor health of his wife), and the legendary status he has up here in the Green side of Glasgow it’s plain to see that he is held in the greatest esteem by the fans. Moreover, if you look at his record elsewhere, taking Leicester to two League cups and top half finishes every year. He reached the final of the UEFA Cup only to lose, ironically, to a Mourinho led Porto team, who cheated and dived to that victory as well. And the work he has done at Villa is top notch, making them into a side who can realistically beat anyone outside the top 4 on their day and give the top 4 a run for their money.
    My concern over O’Neill would be that he would be handed a large transfer kitty, and his record in the tranfer windows is not that great, making some dodgy signings and spending a lot of money where it is not needed.

    To be fair, it’s difficult to slag off O’Neill transfer record when we have Roy Keane in the frame to be next MU manager. I think his scouting system is his mobile phone contacts list of players he’s played with in the past. This year when he was looking for a centre back, he gave Brucey a ring, until he realised that that ship had sailed. Still, if you can’t get someone you’ve played with, get their younger brother…

    I know its a pipedream, but would love to see Eric take the reigns of United someday. He keeps teasing about it in the media (see 4-4-2) and he is Utd through and through. Also, he does have management experience (albeit the French Beach Football team). Still, Cantona as Manager – I would accept a few years of him finding his feet to see the type of football he would love to play…

  37. klauq says:

    Yeah I think it’s a bit too wishful to mention neville and giggs now..
    But to completely rule out having one of our ex-players as the manager is cowardice. Challenge is what makes it more fun. If you want only established, so-called world class manager to succeed SAF, and not letting the aesthetic and tradition take place in the game, then you are better off watching Chelsea play hhahahaha. I will more satisfied if later on, we win and we are managed by one of the ex-players.
    I dont understand what are you guys so afraid of. I think we have the most ex-players managing Premier League side for now.. Steve, Hughes, Keane, Ince.. My favourite is of course Hughes because of his experience, but I am willing to have any of them.

  38. wiuru... says:

    Im sticking with CQ a proven servant of the club. Not liked by many on arrival but at the end his influance was there to be seen.He got on with the job quietly, lets see how he gets on with Portugal. I havnt even followed Maureens progress his tantrums smack of Keegans i know best attitude !!!

  39. steve says:

    Hughsie88 not all but some did want him out and they blamed him for the mess he left celic in when he left.

  40. Hughsie88 says:

    Fair enough, but since he’s left they’ve still won 3 in a row. But I’m not arguing, just one Celtic fan defending St Martin.

    Having said that, split loyalties tonight… As long as its not a draw, but supporting United is edging it.

    Tevez for two.

    Mourinho’s football doesn’t deserve a platform at Old Trafford. Also the old saying is ‘noone is bigger than the club’. SAF IS the club, but he has earned that after 23years. Jose would walk in and expect it. CQ it my top tip, maybe Keane after a good few more years proving himself and getting experience with Sunderland or a bigger club in the future.

  41. rubanraj says:

    I’m would back Capello as the next United gaffer. He will have no much trouble settling into the team. Plus he’s very similar to Fergie in many ways. However, it was reported that he’s gonna retire after 2010 so too bad.

    As for Mourinho, his approach to the game is very Anti-United. Plus, the special one has the special ability to turn any club into the most hated team in the world.

  42. Stephen says:

    CQ have you seen his recent results for Portugal? nil nil against a 10 man Albania, defeat to Denmark and a draw with Sweeden, looks like a classic case of great number 2 but not a number 1.

  43. steve says:

    Hughsie88 no one is going to go against that about the master fergie, I am one of his biggest fan’s and unlike wenger, fergie lives with the pressure’s and delivers week in week out year in year out. cappello no mourinho if he is willing to play a more open game. They did very true so it can’t have been that bad to win 3 in a row despite the competition, but back to fergie unlike wenger he has replaced great players with other great players while wenger struggles to come up with answers to get arsenal successful again. And he uses the money he as spend to justify arsenal’s lack of success and the media think wenger can be potless and still be successful which for me sounds like a small club mentality.

  44. bossdem says:

    did peejay say spalleti? ffs!

  45. Stephen says:

    He also said CQ is doing an excellent jon with Portugal?!

  46. suhayl says:


  47. bruce thomas says:

    Three names…

    1) Marco
    2) van
    3) Basten

  48. PeeJay says:

    Don’t try and say Spalletti is a poor manager, you’ll just embarass yourself. He’s having a bad time, as Wenger has had, as Fergie has had and so on.

  49. manutd guy says:

    OTRed Said,
    “…i’m pretty sure Fergie didn’t United running through his veins in 1986″

    so true.

    neither did wayne rooney or rio ferdinand in 2001 !

    you build an affinity with the club you enjoy prolonged success with.

    the brief for fergie’s successor is simply a strong charismatic leader who has demonstrated entertaining, winning football.

    jose demonstrates all these characteristics except for the entertaining bit.

    rubanraj Said
    “…the special one has the special ability to turn any club into the most hated team in the world”

    are you sure fergie’s united were not the most hated PL team in the 90s?

    ill say it again: jose is good except his football style generally sucks balls. inter team playing like crap at the moment!


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