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José Mourinho inducted into the LMA HoF

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Last night former Chelsea manager José Mourinho was entered into the League Managers Association's Hall of Fame, in London. He had this to say..

Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Matt Busby, Bob Paisley, Arsene Wenger amongst others, are all members of the LMA Hall of Fame and tonight you will be formerly inducted into the LMA Hall of Fame alongside them; how does this feel?

“I am very proud of this because I am not British and I spent just over 3 years in the Barclays Premier League which is not a significant time to create a big history that deserves so much from the League Managers Association. But the time I spent here, I have no problem to say, that it was the best time of my career so far and that’s despite winning the Champions League in Portugal and Italy. In the Barclays Premier League we did great things and created history for Chelsea with a great contribution to some great moments in this incredible football country so I am very proud to be here. It is special for me this evening, as I get to see people I like very much and respect. I still have a home here and me and my family are still in love and will always be in love with this country. So to be back is almost to be at home.”

What is it that enthrals you about English football and the Barclays Premier League?

“It is an incredible competition. I feel very fortunate as a coach and as a manager because I have now worked in four countries – Spain, Italy, England and Portugal. The good thing is to have the chance to compare the different emotions and the experiences of different competitions. We can always discuss the qualities of the football in the different countries but not about the emotions of the game or the atmosphere as in England. The atmosphere, the intensity and the emotion in England is something you cannot compare with other countries and for somebody that is really in love with the game, as I am, this is the place where you enjoy it the most.”

There are many managers here this evening who will be receiving FA Cup medals and you won The FA Cup in 2007 – why do you think The FA Cup is so special?

“I remember myself as a kid who was crazy about football and for me football was the Portuguese competitions and The FA Cup Final. This was the only match we got to see from abroad. So for me., The FA Cup is to go back to my dreams as a kid. When we won the cup in 2007 after the two Barclays Premier League titles, the emotion was incredible. For me a final is a final, a match is a match, Wembley is Wembley – it did not matter if it was the new or the old one – Wembley is Wembley and the stairs are the stairs.”

The LMA encourages younger coaches who want to be managers to serve an apprenticeship and have a mentor. The inaugural LMA Hall of Fame Dinner was a tribute to Sir Bobby and you worked with him prior to your first managerial position. How valuable was this apprenticeship?

“I was a lucky man because I have had some crucial moments in my career and one of the crucial moments was when I had the chance to work with Mr Robson. Not just because he was as a great manager but he was a great person. I think everybody that had the chance to meet him and had a few moments, or in my case a few years, felt privileged. I learned so much from my experiences with him. I always remember with a little smile that after I was upset after a defeat he said “don’t be sad because in the other dressing room someone is bouncing around with happiness.” So I always remember good moments with him and every moment was a good one.”

You also worked with Louis van Gaal at Barcelona where again the approach would have been attacking football. When did you define your own philosophy towards how you wanted to play the game?

“I think it is very important for every manager to have their own philosophy of everything. The way you want your team to play, the way you want to lead your team, the way you want to work every day – everything must be very specific. To have a mentor is one thing, to try and copy is another. With a mentor you can improve and have a base for evolution but when you try and copy, the copy is never the same as the original. So I think you have to learn from people with more experience who have had success, but always keep your own personal identity.”

Sir Alex Ferguson said this week that he has no intention of retiring and he is nearly 70. For you at 47, that would be another 23 years in management. Do you have the motivation and intent to continue for 23 more years?

“When I heard Sir Alex say this I was laughing because I was not surprised. He has an incredible humour but at the same time brightness and commonsense. For me he is amazing as he is the same person I met in 2004. I have more white hair and more wrinkles but he is exactly the same. I hope he continues for years and I get to face him a few more times. So when I am in my 50’s or 60’s, I also see myself still in football with the same ambitions and desires. So I understand why Sir Alex wants to continue. It was the same with Mr Robson and I see myself continuing for many years.”

Managers have to manage expectations. The moment you became known as the Special One the expectations became higher and you still met them. Do you thrive on pressure and respond well to high expectations?

“I’ve always had expectations in my career. In the beginning I had the pressure because I went into management after not being a top player, so I had a lot of things to prove. After Porto the pressure was the question “Can he achieve abroad?” Everything then went well in England. Italy is the home of tactics, so the question then was “Is he a good leader and a good tactician, can he compete in this world of football?” Yes I could. Now I go to Spain and everybody says “Real Madrid is an incredible club, a club different than any other club - can he cope with it?” So I am trying to prove that I can and step by step, stage by stage with this new challenge it motivates me more and more.”

How do you get players from all over the World of different nationalities and cultures to buy into your vision?

“First of all I have to respect their own identity and culture. I am there not to teach one person how to play football, but to teach a team to play as a team. Individuals are there to make a team and I am the boss of that team.”

How do you personally as a manager respond to a defeat?

“I always say a defeat must not be a start of a period it must be just the end of a great period. So when the defeat comes you cannot think this is the first of some but just the end of a period of victories and good moments”

What are you expecting with the forthcoming El Classico?

“It is a different game for me because when I played Barcelona in the Champions League with Chelsea and Inter, it was stay in the competition or go out. This is a league game, so yes it is against a rival and yes it is first against second but this game is one of 38 matches in the Spanish Championship.”

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