Quotes on: Jose Mourinho

Sporting Lisbon, Porto, and Barcelona 

“Jose was a personable young man who was nominated to look after me because of his good English and strong background in football. He was a schoolteacher and his father had been a professional goalkeeper with Vitoria Setubal [Felix Mourinho was good enough to win international honours] and then general manager of the same club. Jose was to prove a marvellous asset, covering my back and looking after me while building up a good rapport with the players of the three clubs we have been at together. Whenever I needed his support he was there, even though it often meant putting himself in the firing line.”
– Sir Bobby Robson

“He’d (scout Sporting Lisbon’s upcoming opponents and) come back and hand me a dossier that was absolutely first class. As good as anything I’d received. 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.”
– Sir Bobby Robson

“He was excellent in his three years at Barca. They said he was a translator. Rubbish. He was the assistant coach, someone who understood the philosophy of Barca and who shared many of the same characteristics of Van Gaal. He was very respected by the players. He trained us sometimes alone at Barca B and he was excellent. I’m surprised that he became known for another type of football, more defensive, because he wasn’t like that with us.”
Xavi

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“(He was) an arrogant young man, who didn’t respect authority that much, but I did like that of him. He was not submissive – he used to contradict me when I was in the wrong. Finally, I wanted to hear what he had to say and ended up listening to him more than any of the assistants.”
– Louis van Gaal

“Mourinho was very angry. He was very irritated and shouted. That was impressive for me, because he had emotions and he was right. I asked him to be the coach, the trainer, because he knew the team and he could help me. He said ‘yes’ and stayed three years with me. He analysed all the games for me and did it very well. He took the individual training sessions and I also let him coach the games of the Copa Catalunya. He won it.”
– Louis van Gaal
(about Mourinho reacting to being made surplus to requirements following van Gaal’s appointment as Barcelona manager, and his subsequent performance as the Dutchman’s assistant)

“He was the translator when he arrived. But he was also assistant coach. The two roles were incompatible and that became apparent after just two or three press conferences. Rather than translate Mr Robson’s words, Mourinho would add his own opinions. He’d protect his boss as well – he’d have arguments with journalists. We had to pull him back from translating.”
– An unnamed senior staff member at Barcelona who worked with Mourinho and Sir Bobby Robson

“His role was different (from that under Sir Bobby Robson) under Van Gaal. He was trusted to scout big-game opponents so he travelled a lot. Van Gaal also used to place him in the stands rather than on the bench for a different perspective. Mourinho would report to him at the start of half-time and Van Gaal would relay this to the team. I worked closely with Mourinho and liked him. He was bright, ambitious and had a strong personality.  He wanted to be part of the team and made sure he integrated successfully. I knew he’d make a good coach – but I didn’t realise he’d make a great one.”
– Unnamed senior staff member at Barcelona

“Mourinho translated the first press conference on a pre-season game in Holland, but it was immediately obvious that he couldn’t translate because he had such strong opinions of his own. Some of the journalists can speak English; they knew he was picking and choosing which of Robson’s words to translate. He continued to translate, but only inside the dressing room and not to the press.”
– Santi Gimenez
(journalist at AS)

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Porto

“Mourinho had studied the game for a long time before, watching other teams, and the good thing was that everything we did in training happened in the game, which gave players confidence in the coach. When you have been prepared for each situation that could happen, it means you are more prepared than the other team.”
– Deco

“Mourinho brought something different (to Porto); he brought the ambition, because at that time in Portugal it was difficult for a club to think it could win the Champions League. Of course, Porto had won it in the past but it was a different time. [ . . . ] Mourinho brought this confidence to us; we had a fantastic team and he gave us that final push to believe it was possible.”
– Deco

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“Mourinho, he’s a winner. It’s difficult for him to accept results that don’t go his way. [ . . . ] sometimes when we lost a game – which if you can remember wasn’t all that often in our time! – he would find it difficult to accept.”
– Deco

“As far as strategy goes Mourinho is the best coach I have worked with. He convinces you that if you do what he tells you to do it will bring results and it does. Working with Mourinho was incredible. I learned so much. It was a long time ago and some people say he has changed a lot, others that he hasn’t changed at all. He turned Madrid into a very effective team. They were different to Barcelona aesthetically but in terms of efficiency they were very effective. For everything that they say about him, he put Real Madrid at the same level as the best ever Barcelona side.”
– Deco

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Chelsea

“For me, Jose was the best. He was the first manager I came across to have a particular way. He knew whether a player needed a leg-up or a rollocking. 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.”
Frank Lampard

“He made me believe I was better than I was at the time. I thought I was a decent player, but he said to me “listen, you can really get to the top” and he made me believe it. I tried to take it on and do it. Mourinho was the best. For me he was. He brought my confidence to a level it had never been.”
– Frank Lampard

“It’s a presence and an aura and a way with people. He galvanises people. His own self-confidence reflects back on his teams. He did that to me personally. Tactically he’s fantastic. He’s very astute. As a team he sets you up brilliantly. But what he does is he gets the best out of players and gets this togetherness that I’d never known until he came to the club and I haven’t seen it again since then. He might rub people up the wrong way. [But] as a manager, he’s brilliant with his team, tactically, he’s brilliant with individuals and I think he’s brilliant with the press. I know it creates a storm, but he does protect his players.”
– Frank Lampard
(when asked what makes Mourinho so good)

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

“As soon as I hit a bad time, he rang me every day. Every single day. He is the most loyal, the most caring manager I have ever worked with.”
– Frank Lampard

“Mourinho puts out a winning team, it doesn’t matter if it’s done with nice football or not.”
– Arjen Robben

“Personally, he (Mourinho) helped me in a very complicated moment of my career and he gives me confidence. I will do whatever he asks. In face-to-face situations he helps me a lot and I respect him for that.”
– Cesc Fabregas

“I would never think that a guy who hadn’t played the game could be a top coach, but then you’ve got to look at his personality. I think his personality does it; he’s got a marvellous strong personality, and I think that bridges that gap. I remember his first press conference at Chelsea and I thought: ‘Christ, he’s a cocky bastard, him’ … But it told all the players to have the belief they were going to win the league.”
Sir Alex Ferguson

“He arrived when Chelsea were on the way up… they had a good side already and he did something more and made them winners. He deserves a lot of credit for that because it is never easy to win and in England it is maybe more difficult. We didn’t get on the best but recently it has become better. That does not hide the fact I respected what he did and the quality of his work.”
– Arsene Wenger

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Inter Milan

“I liked a lot the character of Mourinho. And of course the results. From the beginning, I considered Mourinho special.”
– Massimo Moratti

“It’s difficult to find a defect in Mourinho. Perhaps he is a little introverted, but he is marvellous.”
– Massimo Moratti

“He’s the manager who had more influence on me (than Arsene Wenger). Why? Because he was the one who impressed me most on his work ethic. 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.”
Patrick Vieira

“His philosophy is that you may have to play against a team who are better than you, but you have to find a way to win the game. Sometimes you have to accept that you are playing against a better team. A better team, yes, but that does not mean a winning team.”
– Patrick Vieira

“I remember at Inter, sometimes I wasn’t part of the starting eleven, but he would always find the time to talk to me. If every single player puts the team before themselves, the team will be successful, and I think that is the strength of Jose Mourinho.”
– Patrick Vieira

“When I got to know him, he was amazing. He dragged things out of me that no other coach had done before. When I played I felt like a terminator, I felt so confident under him. When he had his talk before the game, he made you feel from being a cat to like a lion. When I came out I was so confident in my game. The way he was, the personality he had, we just clicked. There was no question of arguing with him. Everything was flowing in a positive way. I felt much better as a footballer in my mind and in the way I was playing.”
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic 

“Jose Mourinho is a big star … he’s cool. The first time he met (my wife) he whispered to her: ‘Helena you have only one mission. Feed Zlatan, let him sleep, keep him happy”‘ The guy says what he wants. I like him.”
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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“He formed an attachment to me even before we met. He would become a guy I was basically willing to die for. I felt increasingly that this guy gives everything for the team, so I want to give everything for him. It was a quality he had. People were willing to kill for him.”
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“Mourinho is like a second father to me. Mourinho is a powerhouse. In football we have powerhouses who are players, and ever since I met Mourinho, we can say that there are powerhouses who are Coaches. And he certainly is, without any doubt at all.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. And as a person he reaches you much more than in his role as Coach. Mourinho is a friend.”
– Wesley Sneijder

“You have to be with Mourinho to find out just what he is like. The key to him is how he convinces you, how he helps you if things aren’t going well for you. He is on top of everything and always knows how to help a player, sometimes doing one thing, sometimes another, but whatever he does it is for the good of the club, the player and the person.”
– Wesley Sneijder

“With Jose, I had a wonderful relationship not only because I enjoyed playing for him but because he gave me the feeling of being important.”
– Marco Materazzi

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Real Madrid

“I have very good memories of working with Mourinho; he raised our competitive level. It wasn’t a dark period. Under him, we returned to our rightful place”
– Florentino Perez

“When we have the chance of counting with a manager such as José Mourinho, a person who knows how to properly develop a project in order to make this club a lot stronger, attacking Mourinho is attacking Real Madrid! I go to the Valdebebas training center many times, and I see his daily work with the players. Everything he does is meant for the club to keep improving and to create the conditions to win. He’s allowing this team to build a strong character and a big group spirit.”
Zinedine Zidane

“Of course I would, just like any other football player who has been coached by him. He’s a tough coach, that’s true, but he teaches players the true meaning of winning and what it takes to do it. He’s a natural-born winner. People can dislike his methods, but I can assure you that he does everything in his power to protect his players, as he always has the right speech to put himself in front of the bullets when needed.”
– Zinedine Zidane
(when asked if he would have liked to play under Mourinho)

“I know how special he is as a manager. He is a manager who always supports his team and always protects his team. He’s getting the best out of any player.”
– Mesut Ozil

“Apart from the knowledge of the game he has, he masters many elements in terms of tactical variations, facing games, and he does that very well. But above all, he talks about teaching yourself when facing matches, preparing psychologically to be able to play any game. When you are at the top level, you are automatically ready to approach any game accordingly. He has said that since he came here (Real Madrid), and it is something that has stayed with me, because it is very important at this level of football. Every game is practically an obligation for us to win.”
– Xabi Alonso

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Others

“He’s a fantastic manager with a record that nobody has in this football world.”
– Louis van Gaal

“I am always the ‘arrogant Louis van Gaal’ but now I am humble. Now, he is better than me.”
– Louis van Gaal
(2014)

“It was clear that, tactically, he could set up his team to win any football match. He could spoil, he could fight, he could do whatever you needed because he was a pure winner. But, more than that, he created a special bond with each squad he managed. You heard it in the way his players spoke about him. You saw it in the way they played for him.”
– Steven Gerrard
(in his autobiography “Steven Gerrard: My Story”)

“Jose Mourinho is without doubt bordering on greatness. When you talk about the great managers Jose is going to be one of them.”
– Steve Bruce

“I have a great admiration and respect for him as a football manager and as a person and [ . . .] I think he’s one of the best managers in football history. His record speaks for itself.”
– Mauricio Pochettino 

“I’m not a fan of Mourinho’s playing style, but he has a fascinating personality. He’s very intelligent, has an incredible charisma and a special way of dealing with things. [ . . . ] He always deflects the attention to him – not only for his ego, but to take the pressure away from the players. People talk mostly about Mourinho, despite him having world champions in his side.”
Eric Cantona

“[ . . . ] I think he is a great example, he can speak five languages or whatever he can. He goes and becomes an interpreter for Bobby Robson, follows him to Barcelona, works under Louis Van Gaal; he is learning all the time. He has got a determination, he wants to be a coach. He never played the game, by the way – you tell me how many presidents would give a manager a job who has never played the game? None. But he has done it. Then 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.”
Sir Alex Ferguson

“Jose Mourinho is the only football manager who celebrates a goal or a win in exactly the same style as his players. I’ve seen him skid onto the pitch on his knees, I’ve seen him leap onto another player’s back, and that makes him one of the team, that makes him the leader of the gang.”
– Desmond Morris
(Author of ‘The Soccer Tribe’)

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