What Jose Mourinho said about Sir Alex Ferguson has come back to haunt him

Jose Mourinho led Porto to Champions League success in 2004, catapulting his name amongst the world’s elite, with his swagger, arrogance and endearing charm.

Now often a former shadow of himself for Manchester United, glimpses of the once-dubbed ‘Special One’ are few and far between.

After United pulled off an astonishing turnaround last month in Turin, beating Juventus 2-1 in injury time, Mourinho seemed to relight the fire he is so renowned for.

Cupping his ear in defiance to Juventus’s fans, Mourinho ensured his name was to be etched across every headline.

This was the Mourinho of the past, the Mourinho that Manchester United fans expected when the Portuguese was appointed.

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But weeks after that night in Turin, Mourinho once more has cast a gloomy and disgruntled figure on the touchline – although his mood would have been lifted by United’s 4-1 win over Fulham at the weekend.

Even with a multi-million-pound squad at his disposal, Mourinho’s side sit sixth in the Premier League – and what he said about Sir Alex Ferguson in 2004 has come back to haunt him:

“I understand why Ferguson is a bit emotional. He has some top players in the world and they should be doing a lot better than that.”

“You would be really sad if your team gets as clearly dominated as that by an opponent who has been built on maybe ten per cent of the budget.”

Jose Mourinho, then Chelsea manager, shakes hands with Sir Alex Ferguson at Stamford Bridge on August 15, 2004
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The comments came after Mourinho’s Porto scored a last-minute equaliser at Old Trafford, knocking United out of the Champions League.

The Portuguese famously galloped down the touchline in celebration after the equaliser, incensing Sir Alex.

In turn, Sir Alex refused to shake Mourinho’s hand after the game and that’s when Mourinho hit back in his press conference – 14 years on, the irony in Mourinho’s comments are clear to see.

United went onto finish third under Sir Alex that season, while also winning the FA Cup, something Mourinho would surely love to replicate after United’s horror start.


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