Jose Mourinho may be Manchester United manager, but there was a time when he wasn’t exactly liked inside Old Trafford.
The Portuguese boss has done battle with United on numerous occasions during his career, most notably with Chelsea.
But before he arrived in England and declared himself as ‘The Special One’, Mourinho was already upsetting his future club.
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In 2004, Mourinho took his Porto side to the Theatre of Dreams in a Champions League last-16 clash. His side had beaten Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2-1 in the first-leg but were trailing 1-0 in injury-time in Manchester.
That was until Costinha equalised with just seconds remaining, prompting Mourinho to run down the touchline to join in the celebrations.
But, while many United fans were furious with Mourinho’s actions on that night, he has revealed how Ferguson and Gary Neville made him realise how special the club really was.
United vs. Porto 2004
“Relationship starts bad,” he told Sport magazine.
“Because in [the first leg in] Porto, he [Ferguson] was upset with the result [Porto won 2-1] and with Roy Keane’s red card – but I was a football man and I respect that this is the game, so nothing happened.
"Then, at the end of the second leg, we had an episode that was not normal in our culture.
“We were in our dressing room, celebrating like it was the Champions League final – it was only the last 16.
"There was a knock on the door, and it was the manager and the captain – Sir Ferguson and Gary Neville. They say: ‘Well done, you deserve it, good luck for the future, bye’. In Portugal, this is impossible to happen like this. Everybody looked at each other; we knew this is a different world."
Mourinho on Ferguson
Mourinho soon moved to Chelsea and beat Ferguson to two league titles. However, despite the two being managers of Premier League rivals, they had a good relationship ever since that night in 2004.
“After this episode, we had always a very respectful situation. We were fighting for the title, we were playing so many times against each other.
"I played United with Madrid, with Inter Milan, with Porto, with Chelsea – FA Cup final, Community Shield, League Cup semi finals. So many times, but always correct. I felt it couldn’t be a different way, because I was dealing with someone from a different world.”
So, it certainly seems that the relationship between Mourinho and Ferguson is incredibly healthy. In fact, the legendary Scottish boss may well have had a big say in the club appointing Mourinho after all.
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