Friday 19 January 2018

Mourinho ready to make fresh lodgement in memory bank

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is on the brink of securing his 22nd trophy as a manager, with Chelsea able to wrap up the Premier League title with victory over Crystal Palace tomorrow
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is on the brink of securing his 22nd trophy as a manager, with Chelsea able to wrap up the Premier League title with victory over Crystal Palace tomorrow

Matt Law

Jose Mourinho does not have a trophy room. Instead, the replicas of the silverware he has made are strewn across not just different rooms but also different houses.

Given that Mourinho is on the brink of securing his 22nd trophy as a manager, with Chelsea able to wrap up the Premier League title with victory over Crystal Palace tomorrow, it is a good job that the 52-year-old has houses in England and Portugal.

The replica trophies offer a physical reminder of his achievements, but Mourinho prefers the memory of each triumph.

Should Chelsea complete the job against Palace, then Mourinho expects to have the five-minute flashbacks at around 3.30pm tomorrow afternoon.

But once the initial elation has passed, he will go home as normal and start thinking about the next target.

Chelsea will not be presented with the Premier League trophy until after their final game of the season against Sunderland and the replica that Mourinho has made will end up in one of his spare rooms.


"The meaning is the important thing," he said. "The feeling, the emotion, is what stays forever. I have replicas of every cup I won but I don't care about the replicas or the medals.

"They're in my houses. I have some in Portugal, some here, some in my son's room. I really don't care.

"What stays forever is the feeling, the emotion, the memory of the moment. I have clear in my head every one of these moments I lived."

Asked to try to describe the immediate feeling he experiences once another trophy is secure, said Mourinho. "Normally it's a flash.

"The moment finishes, the final or the game that gives you the league, and you have like a flash of the people you love most, the people who are with you, a little bit of the most important moments that lead to that trophy. It's like a quick flash. And, with me, five minutes later, move on.

"The basic thing about football, the most pure feeling, you want to win. It doesn't depend on the level you are. To be champions in the Premier League is not a different feeling to being champions in the Championship, in League One, League Two or the Conference.

"The happiness, also the frustrations. Everyone has his level, but in terms of human feelings, they're exactly the same."

With the title not yet confirmed and the trophy presentation having to wait, Mourinho has no special plans for tomorrow night if his team are confirmed as champions.

"I think I'll go home," he said. "In this moment, we have nothing - as you can imagine - prepared and nothing organised. So, normally, I finish the game and go home.

"I'll speak with the same people as always. My family is with me all the time, for good, for bad. I share the good, I share the bad.

"A few friends, some more important than others. Normally, the most important ones are those who worked with me for more than 10 years. We are together for good and bad.

"Obviously at home it will be a different night, not just one more day at home. I'm waiting for that moment. But I have to think about next season as well."

Chelsea have been top of the Premier League table for the entire season and played some superb football during the first half of the campaign, but it is the past month that Mourinho has enjoyed most.

The Blues have had to fight for victories against Stoke, Queens Park Rangers, Manchester United and Leicester, and for a draw at Arsenal, but Mourinho insists his players have not been feeling the pressure and that he does not get nervous.


"When it goes to the countdown, I like the feeling that we have to force it," he said. "We can't wait for it. I like the feeling of the last month. Come on, let's go. We need four victories, three victories, two. I like this feeling of being almost there, but not there. I like this. I like this last push. I'm never nervous. I prefer it because it depends on you.

"When people sometimes say, 'It's yours to lose', you're under pressure. We are not under pressure. The pressure is on the teams who have to win and wait for us to lose.

"It happened a bit to us last season. We were winning and winning, but we had to wait for the others to drop points.

"This season, basically since March when we recovered the distance we'd lost in December, the problem was for the others.

"They had to win. Some of them had fantastic runs. Manchester United had consecutive victories, Arsenal too, but they couldn't close the gap. This is the real pressure.

"For us, it was just about us. Nothing else matters. Just us. This weekend we don't care about Hull v Arsenal, or United v West Brom. It's just about us. This is the feeling I like. Not to be depending on the others."

Mourinho rejects any suggestion that Chelsea's run to the title has been aided by the failure of their rivals, and claimed there would not be a sense of personal relief at winning his first league title since 2012 with Real Madrid.

"Two seasons without a title," said Mourinho. "Well, I don't think it's normal to win a title every season unless you choose one of the countries and clubs where even the kit man as manager wins it. Here, it's difficult. I choose a difficult one."

Mourinho, the former translator, will soon have another memory to cherish and a new replica trophy to lose in one of his houses.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Live, Sky Sports 1, 1.30 tomorrow

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