Jose Mourinho lists Manchester United with Porto and Roma as underdog clubs he's upset the odds with… as opposed to others 'with large budgets'
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Jose Mourinho lists Manchester United with Porto and Roma as underdog clubs he's upset the odds with… as opposed to others 'with large budgets'

Nov 13, 2023

Jose Mourinho has aimed a thinly-veiled jibe Manchester United after listing them as one of the underdog clubs he has won silverware with – insisting winning anything there is a ‘miracle’.

While reflecting on his managerial career so far, the Roma boss talked up his achievements of lifting the Champions League with Porto in 2004 before going on to win the Treble with Inter Milan in 2010.

The 60-year-old also alluded to winning a ‘Europa League and a half’ with Roma, referencing winning the Europa Conference League in the 2021-22 campaign before losing in last season’s Europa League final to Sevilla, a game he claims he never lost due to the refereeing in the game.

But it was his time at Old Trafford that Mourinho took umbrage with, saying it was near-impossible to win anything at the club, compared to other great sides he’s managed with bigger budgets. 

Mourinho managed to win three trophies – the Community Shield, the League Cup and the Europa League – during the 2016-17 campaign, becoming the first United manager to clinch silverware at the club since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager.

Jose Mourinho has listed Manchester United as an underdog club he's upset the odds with

Jose Mourinho has listed Manchester United as an underdog club he’s upset the odds with

The 'Special One' won the Europa League with United in 2017, labelling it as a 'miracle'

The ‘Special One’ won the Europa League with United in 2017, labelling it as a ‘miracle’

And the Special One pulled no punches in an interview with Italian journalist Federico Buffa, viewing the Red Devils as an underdog alongside Roma and Porto when talking about some of the clubs he’s managed.

‘I am always accused of being less than humble, I have to agree with those who say so,’ Mourinho told Sky Italia, via La Gazzetta dello Sport.

‘I have achieved many feats, but winning the Champions League with Porto is a super feat with nine Portuguese players having played in the Champions League final, seven guys a year earlier who had not had any matches in the Champions League. 

‘But there are other clubs because if I have been lucky enough to work with teams with large budgets, I have had the difficulty of working in teams where winning is a miracle. 

‘I won with Manchester United, I won a cup and a half with Roma, I wasn’t able to win two cups in Rome but I won one and a half and I have another six months here. The one with Porto is a feat that opened the doors of the world to me.’

Mourinho was axed by the Red Devils in December 2018 after two-and-a-half years at the helm following what was then the club’s worst start to a top-flight season since 1990. 

He has often criticised United since his departure and pointed out how far they’ve fallen since the glory years of Ferguson’s legendary tenure as manager. 

Last year, Mourinho claimed he was not expected to lift trophies with the Red Devils 

Mourinho won three titles during two-and-a-half years, including the League Cup in 2017

Mourinho won three titles during two-and-a-half years, including the League Cup in 2017

Mourinho was victorious in the 2016 Community Shield at the start of his Old Trafford tenure

Mourinho was victorious in the 2016 Community Shield at the start of his Old Trafford tenure

He said: ‘You know, people they saw me taking up jobs where they thought that I could win trophies but they were not jobs where we were expected to lift trophies.

‘But when you have such a winning career on a cyclical basis so to speak, you can expect that, people can say that. Personally I’m not worried about this [being replaced by younger coaches]. I do not think and focus on the generations, I focus on quality.’

Since Mourinho left United only Erik ten Hag has managed to win a trophy while at Old Trafford, with the Dutchman ending the club’s five-year drought when they beat Newcastle to lift the Carabao Cup in February.

Mourinho has endured a torrid start to the 2023-24 campaign with Roma – the worst in his career – after failing to win any of their first three league games before dropping points again to Torino and Genoa.

A win against Frosinone last night and a 7-0 drubbing against Empoli last month leaves Mourinho’s Roma in 13th. 

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the club’s clash with Frosinone on Sunday evening, the former Chelsea boss insisted he could not be held solely to blame for his side’s poor form.

Mourinho won the Champions League with Porto in 2004

The 60-year-old also won the Conference League with Roma in 2022

He listed the Red Devils with Porto and Roma as underdog clubs he’s upset the odds with

‘I don’t read the papers, listen to the radio or watch the TV but I have friends, I have players, I have assistants, I have people who, even if I don’t want to know, inform me of things. I won’t accept it. 

‘Because it’s not true. I’m not the problem,’ Mourinho said.

‘In football, and in life too, there are multiple factors. It’s the same when you win: you can’t say one person is responsible for it. We all are.

‘Lots of little things are at play in a football club, a business, a political structure, an educational structure, and I know because I’ve worked in one. It’s always multiple factors.’

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