Friday 20 October 2017

Mourinho: Timing put me off Paris Saint Germain move

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was twice tempted to take the reins at Paris St Germain, who he faces tonight in the Champions League. Photo: AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALLBEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was twice tempted to take the reins at Paris St Germain, who he faces tonight in the Champions League. Photo: AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALLBEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Matt Law

When Paris St-Germain's Qatari owners identified the perfect man to carry out their plot to achieve European domination, they turned to Jose Mourinho.

Having won the Champions League with two clubs, Mourinho was deemed the No 1 choice to spend the PSG millions and help the club to overhaul the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Mourinho was even flown to Qatar to be shown the PSG masterplan but twice - in 2011 and 2013 - he turned them down.

Should Chelsea dump PSG out of the Champions League for a second successive season, then the Qataris may well approach Mourinho for a third time. He is their ideal man and he knows it. Laurent Blanc, the incumbent, probably knows it too.

Mourinho said: "I know the PSG project well, I know it well because when they start this project with the owner, the president and Leonardo, I was to be the coach. I met them in Qatar, so I know the project well.

"The project was to start dominating in France to dominate in Europe. The domination in France is there, they are champions, champions, champions. They are in the League Cup final, they are in the quarter-finals of the French Cup, they are two points behind the leaders so the domination of France is there.

Narrowly

"They want to dominate in Europe too and, to be fair, you look to Paris in the last two seasons in the Champions League and they lost in the quarter-finals, once narrowly to Barcelona and last season against Chelsea in the last second. So they know and they feel they are there. They are there. Paris is a big team with big -ambitions."

Asked why he first turned down the PSG challenge, Mourinho said: "Because I was in Real Madrid and it was a real ambition for me to be champion in Spain, England and Italy.

"It was a big challenge for me and a big challenge to compete directly against Barcelona, probably the best team in Europe for the last decade for sure. It was not the right moment for me to go."

Chelsea are attempting to win the Premier League title and League Cup domestically, and Mourinho believes that English teams face a unique task in trying to be successful in Europe. "For an English team, it's more difficult than other teams," he said.

"The last two English teams to win the Champions League finished sixth and fifth. Chelsea and Liverpool. They finished 25 points behind the champions, they stopped to play for the championship around November, December, because a team that is playing in this country to win, to win every game, to try to be champions and to be top of the league and competing top one, top two, minimum top three is a completely different profile.

"You see in Germany, for Bayern it's a promenade, you see in Spain basically they win every game and they are waiting for Real against Barca, Barca against Real to decide which one is the champion. Atletico was an exception. This is a very strong league, it's very difficult to go to Europe in the maximum of your potential."

PSG, who face Chelsea in their last-16 first leg clash, are third in Ligue 1.

"They know they are going to be champions," Mourinho said. "They know the other teams will not resist them. They draw at home last weekend, but the distance to the leader is still only two points, so I think they know they are going to be champions."

Mourinho is not the only Chelsea man PSG have coveted. As well as signing David Luiz for £42 million, the French club attempted to turn Eden Hazard's head last season. But the Belgian is staying put having signed a £200,000-a-week five-and-a-half year contract to remain at Chelsea.

"He is a fantastic player, the kid was always a good kid, easy to have him in the group, easy to like him, easy to feel loved by everyone, so the kid was never a problem," Mourinho said. "He was always a fantastic kid, his evolution has been very, very good, speculation when a talent like him doesn't sign a contract - it's normal to have speculation around him.

"But I think at this moment it's end of story because nobody signs a five-year contract without being absolutely convinced of his happiness and his future, so good for him and, obviously, very good for the club." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

PSG v Chelsea, live TV3 and ITV, 7.45pm

Telegraph.co.uk

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport