His time at Chelsea would always be special to him, Jose Mourinho told the the Italian media yesterday, but he was an Internazionale man now. "Chelsea will always be in my heart but is no longer in my thoughts," the new Inter coach said. "I wish them all the best but if we meet them in the Champions League I know no one there.
"I want to start a new life and not talk any more about Chelsea. It will be difficult but I want to create the same kind of relationship with the fans and players at Inter that I had with Chelsea. I want to bring joy for Inter in the same way I did for Chelsea."
The man Mourinho replaces, the Italian Roberto Mancini, has been linked with the Chelsea job, and it is possible the two will operate a de facto job swap. "If Roberto went to coach Chelsea, he would almost certainly change things because he thinks differently to me. This is not a criticism. It's just football," Mourinho said.
Equally, he made it clear that he would change Inter's methods from those used by Mancini. "I respect the work of a good coach like Roberto, but I'm a different coach. I work and think differently. Good results are a logical consequence of good work. I'm sure that I do good work and so I expect positive results."
One way he would do this, he said, was to build up his squad's self-belief. "I have always said that my players are the best in the world. I said it when I coached a small team, when I coached Porto, when I coached Chelsea and I now believe that my players at Inter are the best in the world."
There was a time when Mourinho's arrival in Milan would be seen as confirmation that the Italian league was the most powerful in the world. However, this year's Champions League was won by an English team and saw three English clubs in the semi-finals, and none from Italy, and Mourinho admitted that the league he was joining was behind others. "My sensation is that Serie A is no longer the best tournament in the world but it's going through a period of trying to get back to the top," he said.
"Milan, Juve, Roma and Inter all want to improve and maybe with a few new players we can get back to a period like the 1980s and '90s when Serie A was the best league in the world ... that is loved everywhere in the world in important commercial markets like Asia and Europe. For me this is a motivation."
Mourinho spoke warmly of the time he and his family lived in London, and even made reference to the time in May 2007 when he was arrested and cautioned for refusing to let his pet dog Gullit be put into quarantine. "We had a fantastic experience there," he said, "apart from a problem with my dog. I'm in love with London and English football, which I will never forget.
"Now my life is here, my family will come to Milan. Without family I can't work. Family is the only thing more important than football. My kids are children of the world."
Sounds familiar? What Jose said on arriving at Chelsea in 2004
On the Chelsea challenge...
"Chelsea represents a fantastic challenge for me. It is a great club with a world-class squad of players. We have top players and, sorry if I'm arrogant, but we now have a top manager. I am the European champion. I think I am special.
"The English Premiership is recognised as the best league in the world and I am really excited at the prospect of competing week in, week out at the highest level in England as well as in Europe.
"I have been asked how I will cope with the pressure, how I will cope with these players, how I will cope with the urgent ambition to win titles. You don't have to ask me again because that's what I live for.
"English football is a big passion for me. There were some big clubs chasing me very hard. This was a fantastic position for me and the people in my boat, and Chelsea was a perfect choice for me.
"Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one.
"If all the names I was supposed to be signing arrive, I would have a squad of 50 players. I won't work with big squads. I like small squads. I will have 21 outfield players, plus the goalkeepers, because this is the right amount for the specific work we want to do.
"Players don't win trophies, teams win trophies, squads win trophies. I want to build a team in relation to my image and my football philosophy."
On the Champions League...
"It will be the strongest Champions League ever. Every shark will be there. Other teams think like we think in Europe and in English football – they share our ambition – but I don't want self protection from them.
"The biggest ambition I have is to win the first Premiership match on 14 August. The second ambition is to win the second Premiership match on 21 August and we will keep going like this.
"I have loved football since I can remember and I understand the evolution of football and the modern needs of football. I'm not a defender of old or new football managers. I believe in good ones and bad ones.
"I'm a great defender of team spirit and team work and the first thing I have to promise to my new players is that I will look at them all with the same eyes. I don't want special relations with one of them. I hate to speak about individuals. I cannot say I love this player, but generally I love the players who love to win."Reuse content