Any lingering doubts that anyone may have had about his talent as a manager and tactician must surely have been completely wiped away by Inter’s victory over Barcelona and their first trip to the Champions League final in a couple of generations.
If you add this incredible achievement to the list that is getting longer by the season, you have a record that has every chance of eclipsing anything that has gone before.
After taking over as manager of Porto in January 2002 he led them to two Portuguese league titles, two Portuguese cup wins and a Portuguese super cup win. Remarkably, he also led them to a UEFA Cup triumph and then a Champions League victory that defied all the odds. That was six trophies in two seasons.
His success at Porto led to a move to Chelsea in the summer of 2004. In his three seasons at Chelsea he twice won the Premier League title for the club who had waited generations to do so. Add to that an FA Cup and two League Cups and you have another pretty impressive record. His failure to take them beyond the semi-finals of the Champions League was his only real blemish.
After a short break after leaving Chelsea, Mourinho arrived at Inter Milan. The club had won the Serie A title twice in a row but European success was just a distant memory. In his first season he won the Serie A title again and also won the Supercoppa Italiana.
That meant that prior to this season, in just six seasons he had won five league titles in three different countries, seven domestic cup competitions and two European trophies. Fourteen major trophies in six seasons!
This season was all about whether he could finally bring European success to Inter and the victory over Barcelona has done just that. Of course, he still has the little matter of over-coming Bayern Munich, but even if he doesn’t, he has taken Inter to the next level and got them back to where history shows they belong.
Not only has he turned around their European fortunes, but Inter can clinch back-to-back Serie A titles by beating Lazio on Sunday and then claim the Supercoppa Italiana next Wednesday when they take on Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.
Whether you like him or not, you simply cannot question that record.
Mourinho believes that his side’s win over Barcelona is his best ever achievement and with most people believing that Barcelona are one of the best club teams the world has ever seen, few could argue.
“For the players, me, the fans, it’s the greatest. I’ve won the Champions League but today was better. It’s been thirty-eight years since Inter played in the final. We were a team of heroes, we sweated blood. I thank everyone who played and who did not play. I thank all the fans, those who were here and those who remained at home. Absolutely incredible things happened. Now is our festival. I want the fans at the airport waiting for these guys.”
Perhaps you could expect the man who is rapidly becoming recognised as the best club manager in the world could one day manage Barcelona, the best team? It simply won’t happen as there is too much history between them.
“I’m not stupid enough to think that this hate can be turned into love. I respect Barca and I’ll never forget what the club gave me in the four years I was here, but something has been created around me that is hard to make positive. It is clear that I will end my career without having coached Barca.”
The next few weeks could well confirm Jose Mourinho as one of the greats of the game. He is likely to move on from Inter at the end of the season and whoever ends up with him as their manager are in for an exciting time. He talks the talk but he walks the walk as well. He is great for the game of football and he is great for whatever team he manages.
I don’t suppose he fancies a little spell at Watford..?
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