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Mourinho: Failure to land Gerrard one of my biggest regrets

JOSE MOURINHO says failing to sign Steven Gerrard remains one of his greatest transfer disappointments and admits he does not like Chelsea fans poking fun at the Liverpool captain.

Mourinho was on the verge of signing Gerrard in his first spell as Chelsea manager in 2005 before the former England captain chose to stay at Anfield.

Gerrard will finally bring the curtain down on his 17-year career in the Liverpool first team this summer when he joins Los Angeles Galaxy and, ahead of the two clubs' first-leg meeting in the Capital One Cup semi-final at Anfield tomorrow night, Mourinho paid tribute to a player he once "dreamed" of having in his team.

"He (Gerrard) is a historical player for Liverpool, a historical player for the Premier League and an opponent I have always admired and respected," Mourinho said.

"We did everything to try (to sign him) and it was almost there. I was dreaming of (Claude) Makelele, Gerrard and (Frank) Lampard in midfield.

"We were playing in a proper triangle without a number 10 and playing Maka in front of the defenders. Me, Mr Abramovich and (former Chelsea chief executive) Peter Kenyon at that time, we dreamed of that.

"His people were open to him joining a top side like Chelsea. But to me personally he never said he would come. Never.

"He (Gerrard) was always a red and I think the decision was right."

Asked if Gerrrard's decision to stay at Liverpool was his biggest disappointment in the transfer market, Mourinho said: "Yes, but I have another one when I was trying Lampard to Inter.

"I was almost there and it didn't happen too. I had a couple of disappointments and that's normal in football."

Gerrard's slip against Chelsea at Anfield last season proved decisive in the title race as Demba Ba raced away to score and set up a 2-0 win for Mourinho's men.

Chelsea's victory allowed Manchester City to seize the initiative from Liverpool and go on and win the Barclays Premier League title and Gerrard's slip has since become the subject of a song regularly belted out at Stamford Bridge.

But Mourinho says he wishes the Chelsea fans would not sing it as it shows a clear lack of respect to one of the finest players in Premier League history.

"The song that my fans have I don't like at all," Mourinho said. "A couple of times it is good fun but to go and go and go, especially with a player like him who deserves respect, I don't think you don't need that.

"We have so many other songs, you don't need that one. I love this quote when he was saying in his life he would never score a goal against Liverpool. I love these words.

"I understand why he was - almost, almost, almost - coming to Chelsea. But he didn't and I respect that a lot."

League leaders Chelsea's 5-0 romp at Swansea on Saturday has set Mourinho's side up perfectly for a busy week of cup action, first at Liverpool and then the FA Cup fourth round home tie against League One outfit Bradford on Saturday.

"I have difficult memories at Liverpool as to lose a Champions League semi-final (in 2005) to a goal which was not a goal stays forever. You don't forget it. But we played there a couple of months ago and it's a historical stadium - who doesn't like to go there and play? Everybody likes it, I like it, my players like it and it's only good feelings to play at Anfield."