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Mourinho delivers damning verdict on English football


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By DAVID HARRISON, 30/05/2009

AS English football licks its wounds and concede its champions are distinctly second best in Europe, Jose Mourinho delivers another low blow.

No sooner had Manchester United faced up to the fact Barcelona taught them a chilling lesson in Rome, former Chelsea boss Mourinho was questioning the quality of English teams below the top three.

Mourinho lifted a third title in a third country after leading Inter Milan to the Serie A crown. And he insists it was far more difficult to win a Scudetto than it was the Premier League.

The self-proclaimed Special One argues that outside the top three clubs, there is a lack of quality and tactical awareness. In his outspoken analysis, Mourinho hails the outstanding performance levels of Manchester United Liverpool and Chelsea.

But beyond the perennial title chasers, he believes the Premier League is lagging behind. The man who won the title twice with Chelsea said: "I would say that at the top the level of English football is higher than in Italy.

"Manchester United are better than Inter, Liverpool are better than AC Milan and Chelsea are better than Juventus, to give three examples.

"But from there down Italian football is much stronger. In England I won a lot of easy games, by margins that leave no room for doubt. Here (in Italy) this has never happened. On the contrary, the smaller teams were always capable of causing us problems."

DOWN IN THE DUMPS - Mourinho rates United despite their Champions League defeat to Barcelona "In 2004-05 with Chelsea it was a different success to all the others. It was a more emotional title for me because I saw the emotions surrounding me. Chelsea hadn't been champions for 50 years and people felt the success in a way which I'll never forget.

"By the following season the title was a one-horse race. The impetus achieved the previous season made us unstoppable, a bit like when I won my second title with Porto.

"The best example was when we played at Old Trafford 11 points ahead of Manchester United. We lost and came away with an eight-point advantage. We didn't become champions when I said, it's true, but I wasn't far out.

"At no time was any direct opponent less than seven points behind us. I would say it was a very easy title. We won it without suffering."

Mourinho has found the task of winning in Italy far more of a tactical ordeal. The former Blues boss has added the Serie A title with Inter Milan to ones he won in his native Portugal with Porto and England with Chelsea.

He added: "I remember a game against Genoa at home. We started with 4-3-3 and they closed up with four defenders.

"I changed to 4-4-2 and they responded with three centre-halves. I changed it again and they reacted automatically as if they had been expecting every change we made.

"We drew 0-0. They blocked the game in such a way that we could still be playing and not score a goal. The teams from the lower half of the table who come to the San Siro all have very strong tactical and physical trumps.

"Serie A has very unique characteristics which make it extremely difficult."

Typically Mourinho has continued to ruffle the feathers of his closest rivals. He claimed that bitter rivals AC Milan would get 'zero titles', which led to big sales of t-shirts carrying that message.

And he added:"I took a big risk because I would have looked stupid if Milan, Juventus or Roma had won the league.

"As for the success of the t-shirt with that message, if they made a lot of money out of it I hope they remember me."


would you guys tend to agree? discuss.

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Absolutely Bang on. Shows why English clubs dont win UEFA Cup, Middlesboro reached the finals. But thats it.

If English clubs chose to go for the UEFA Cup instead of consolidating their position in the EPL they would be very capable of winning it. You saw that with Spurs, Villa and Everton. All fielding weakened sides as the money up for grabs for finishing higher in the EPL outweighs that of a run in the UEFA Cup.

When Rangers got to the UEFA Cup final last season they earned around £10m for their troubles. Derby got relegated from the EPL and were given a £30m "parachute" payment for being one of the shittest teams ever to grace the English top flight.

Teams sacrafice flair for cash in the EPL. West Brom played some brilliant football and got relegated. Stoke chose to kick and scream their way through the season and got rewarded. So what does that tell you were the teams below the top 3/4 are concerned ?

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Have to agree with Aesthetic, for most of those clubs it is way more important to do as well as they can in EPL, it is in all probability a bigger competition than the Uefa Cup, I think clubs like Tottenham, Everton, Man City and now Prtsmouth have much bigger ambitions than the Uefa Cup and are trying to push their way into the Champions League and the onloy way to do that is to finish in the top four.

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i personally think though the likes of tottenham, everton, man city, and the likes would struggle against the mid table clubs of italy, the high mid table clubs that is.

Everton were unlucky last season against Fiorentina.

But the teams just outside the top 4 had very good seasons. If Everton and Villa were to field their strongest sides they would cope quite well against anyone in europe imo.

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Everton were unlucky last season against Fiorentina.

But the teams just outside the top 4 had very good seasons. If Everton and Villa were to field their strongest sides they would cope quite well against anyone in europe imo.

Man City inspite of all the cash were done in by Hamburg,

Villa were virtually knocked out after the first leg and MON knew it. Hence he put aweakened side.

So I dont see your point here.

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Depends on the year

There are several years recently where i think he is right and other years where I think the mid-level teams are better in the PL than in the Italian league

Maybe he is right this year but I am not sure there is any "definite" answer as neither has some sort of high-and-away slew of mid-level teams

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