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Star guests witness Chelsea struggle

Steve Wilson | 13:39 UK time, Monday, 12 January 2009

What a game it was at Old Trafford on Sunday. And what a who's who of football in the stands. Queiroz, Capello, Maradona and Mourinho were all there to witness Chelsea being pounded into submission by a Manchester United side inspired by Ryan Giggs.

The Old Trafford tunnel is where the post-match interviews take place, and it was certainly a fascinating place to be after the game.

Phil Scolari was first out to give his thoughts, which he did honestly and with great dignity despite his weekly struggle with the English language. Because of time constraints, only part of the interview was broadcast on Match of the Day 2, but the whole thing makes interesting viewing.

The man, who, in the autumn, seemed to have unshackled Chelsea and turned them into a dynamic attacking force, was left reflecting sadly on his side's failure to make one decent scoring chance.

I asked him if he had an answer to their loss of form. "I don't know," was the simple reply as he also confirmed that there would be no significant transfer business this month.

As we waited for Giggs to have treatment before coming out to face the BBC cameras, the Chelsea players were hanging around for word that the club coach had pulled up outside to whisk them away.

Jose Mourinho

Suddenly Jose Mourinho appeared. All smiles but looking slightly incongruous in a woolly beige cardigan, the former Blues manager went from man to man shaking hands, embracing and whispering sweet nothings in their ears. The Chelsea players were clearly delighted to see him, and he them.

The likes of Terry, Lampard and Drogba would not be human if they did not allow themselves to ask what might have been over the last 12 months were Mourinho still in charge, although it's easy to forget that Chelsea started poorly under his leadership last season.

There was a love affair of sorts between Mourinho and many of the current players. As he swept out of the tunnel on Sunday, the Inter Milan boss looked tanned, relaxed and as charismatic as ever; a man who is now comfortable with the split and over the hurt of separation. To the players he left behind, he may have looked more special than ever.


  • Comment number 1.

    lets see if he can get past man utd in the champs lg

  • Comment number 2.

    Perhaps the enigmatic one realized that he had left Chelsea at just the right time, Aura intact, and was considering just how much he would like to walk that tunnel as the home manager at some point in the future

  • Comment number 3.

    britishbeagle ....

    I hope JM goes to ManUtd. They are made for each other. JM and United share some things in common.

    United are a brilliant side to watch, I'd be worried if JM came in as he would bring that brand of footie that he brought to Chelsea. Boring, Defensive and arrogant.

    At least the WAG's would like him though.

  • Comment number 4.

    Scolari should please and amend the condition of the term ., he need to know that anelka his not pretty good and is time drogba take his leave. also he can give mikel change to play the role he played in WYC. he should back to the clips of the competition.

  • Comment number 5.

    Probably whispered into Frankie's ear - "You should have got out when I told you"
    "Anyway, not to worry, plenty of time to sign you when I'm the gaffer here; we just might get you a Champion's League medal yet"

  • Comment number 6.

    the so called "special one" left chelsea at right time.......
    if he was around I think the winning margin for fergies team would even be bigger*lol*

  • Comment number 7.

    As a United fan I can't wait to play his lot in the Champions League. It'll be like an epic pantomime battle between Jose and Sir Alex.

  • Comment number 8.

    jose morinho will not go to man u.

    without the ablility to sculpt his own team he cannot succeed.

    his time at inter will prove interesting:
    he has players of a high caliber (ibrahimovic, quaresma), but they are moulded in the style of the old inter manager.

    he is overrated as a manager.

    i was happy to see him leave chelsea.

    sell drogba + 8 million to inter, for ibrahimovic.

    abramovic can't complain, we sold bridge.

  • Comment number 9.

    Sir Alex Ferguson out look on the beautiful Game
    (Quoting Theodore Roosevelt:From a speech given in Paris at the Sorbonne in 1910)
    It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

  • Comment number 10.

    Very moved by the Theodore Roosevelt quote. Everyone is laughing at us now; fair enough. Crass new money. Selling top quality players like Robben and Gallas; lots more. Eventually the wheels were going to come off. Boyhood dreams since 1965.

  • Comment number 11.

    Martin O Neill is perfect man for the United Job not Mourinho! Mourinho plays defensive football which isnt a bad thing!

    O neill plays attacking football with pace just Man U... When Fergie retires O Neill will be the next manager!

  • Comment number 12.

    Mourinho is a genius, and a handsome one at that. I doubt he’ll get past Man U and change Inter’s reputation as chokers in Europe, but he is a man with massive credibility and highly respected in the footballing world.

    When he left Chelsea, it was a great loss to football fans of this island. And even me, being a fan of a League One outfit, would love to see the Special One back here.

  • Comment number 13.

    Martin O'Neill would be the perfect manager for Man Utd after Fergie. His teams play progressive attacking football, he is charismatic but smart and bases his team around a core of British players. I'd like to see him get the chance to do the job.

  • Comment number 14.

    I really dont think Oneill would be the standard Man U would be looking for once Ferguson retires. Im a Leicester fan myself, and I love the bloke, but lets be realistic for a bit. I dont think Martin can make that massive step up

  • Comment number 15.

    It looks like oneill is making the step up, in the top four (for now) andd having played well against chelsea and arsenal this season. i would like to see utd go for an up and coming manager with more talent that experience rather than a formerly successful ego who'll probably rip wateva team he inherits and undo wat fergies been setting up for years.

    i fear another era with kleberson and alan smith in the centre of midfield

    or even... djemba djemba

  • Comment number 16.

    What is great about all this is that one day when Fergie leaves Man U, to concentrate on his racing horses, Man U will slump do a re-building process. I will then be laughing, only because of the criticism that Chelsea gets. There isn't a club in the world that would've coped with the way we coped when Mourinho left us.
    It on par with Fergie and Wenger leaving their clubs. Would they had achieved what we have since Mourinho left? I doubt it.

    But on the flip side, it is quite flattering that everyone expects us to instantly adapt to the major changes at our club and to continue on the ascendancy towards utopia.

  • Comment number 17.

    most of the people who are critizing Mourinho for negative/boring football are forgetting the fact that he preferred 4-3-3 formation during his initial 2 years in charge at chelsea and he won the league with that formation, but he was forced to change the system for his master who gave him expensive toys which he never liked! which is Shevchenko and Ballack, he changed his formation to 4-4-2 to accomodate both in his team and he eventually settled for that format when robben was out injured most of the time and joe cole's form dissapeared, in addition his new recruitments salomon kalou and malouda failed to impress and he was soo obsessed with success that he never took chance in changing his formation again.

    Rafa Benitez at liverpool plays almost same kind of football.. more tactical and less adventerous ... in short negative football.. but no one is mentioning any thing about his brand of football.. its always about Mourinho and his football !

    when he went to Inter first thing he did was sign queresma and maicon and he started the season with 4-3-3 but both of them failed and he changed it to more defensive formation again,he tried various formations with his current team ,and its his best quality that he knows the substitutions very well and he knows the correct time to introduce his players, during the last game against caliagari when his team were chasing a goal down he introduced herman crespo ( the player he often overlooked) and it was crespo's pass which helped ibrahimovich to score and helped them to get away with a point....and he often get it right with his substitutions .. may be fluke but its a fact!

    as for scolari it seems like he does not have a plan B or he dont like to change the formation and game plans during the matches and he is giving more spaces for his opponents when his full backs going forward for counter attacks! i think scolari cannot manage a massive club like chelsea and the fact that he won world cups with barzil when the managers where not armed with such sophisticated tactics and technics like in european Club football !! HIS GAME PLAN IS ONE DIMENSIONAL! it wont take them any where..

  • Comment number 18.

    paxidermo, to liken the loss of mourinho to the loss of Wenger or Sir Alex is quite frankly laughable.

    The "gulf" left by Mourinho was one that had been built up over approx 3 years. In that time I agree that he was the inspiration behind turning chelsea into a reasonable team. However, the youth policies, transfer policies, scouting team, technical skills coaching programmes etc etc will have only been tinkered with in such a short space of time.

    The likes of Arsenal and Manchester United have had stability in their management structure for decades. The clubs policies from the heart of the club have their stamp firmly within them. The "gulf" therefore created by one of these clubs losing their managers is bound to be felt far more.

    FACT... lol

  • Comment number 19.


    No, when Sir Alex leaves OT there will be no great slump. There will be a brief period of settling in and that is it.

    That's mainly because, of the traditional top four, MUFC is the only one to have built a correctly balanced squad in recent years.

    Chelsea under Abramovich tried to buy the best players at the peak of their abilities. Or to put it another way, players who would no longer be able to play at the top level within 2 or 3 years. The handful of younger players that have been bought have been either sold on or revealed to be pretty average.

    Liverpool's squad is all over the place. When Benitez arrived he had 2 of the best full backs in the world in Finnan and Arne Riise. In spite of that, he froze them out and spent countless millions on replacements - none of whom have been good enough. A similar story on the wings, where half a dozen players have already come and gone. Riera might buck the trend, but it's not certain yet. But most devastating will be Liverpool post-Gerrard and Carragher. It maybe still be a few years down the line yet, but at the moment, if you took those two out of the team it would crumble.

    Arsenal scarcely need explaining. Their most experienced player was United's 5th choice centre back. Potential is always good to have, but only in a well balanced team. There is not much difference in United and Arsenal's youngsters today. But the key advantage at United is that their young midfielders will be training daily with Scholes and Giggs. Their defenders with Neville, Ferdinand and Vidic. And the strikers will have a few good mentors as well...

    Sir Alex has been preparing for his own departure for years. Do you really think he believes he'll still be in charge when the likes of Evans and Rafael are at their peak?

    That is the crucial difference between the sides. Sir Alex is respected and backed fully by everyone from the Stretford End to the Directors' Box. He can plan solely for the good of MUFC. Rafa, Scolari and at one time Jose were all planning to ensure that the next month would bring a pay check instead of a P45.

  • Comment number 20.

    16 - what have you achieved since Morinho left? Gallant runners-up? Brilliant, a source of real comfort no doubt.

    you have coped reasonably well, but it hard to say how anyone should/would cope given the gulf left by such an important manager. Everyone expects you to do well because you're chelsea - you just buy your way out of trouble!

    that last bit was just to wind you up...but everyone expects chelsea/any of the top 4 to do well no matter what. sadly, you can't even pretend that that flattery is particular to yourselves

  • Comment number 21.

    People say Mourinho's teams were boring but I beg to disagree.

    Was it the same Mourinho who had Robben and Duff bombing down the wings?

    Liverpool are the most boring team on Earth, why can't people see this?????

  • Comment number 22.

    16. At 12:46pm on 13 Jan 2009, paxidermo

    What have Chelski acheived since Mourinho left? I think the answer you are looking for is bugger all.

    Likening Mourinho leaving to Sir Alex or Wenger is like comparing Mutya leaving the Sugababes to Lennon leaving the Beatles.

    There is no comparison. I absolutely love Mourinho, I think he is a class act but with the players that Chelsea have, you could probably call up Mutya and get her to come in and she would do as good a job as Avram or Big Phil.

    I hope that one day either O'Neill or Mourinho manage United but at the moment lets just stick with the Angry Scotch Knight.

  • Comment number 23.

    16. At 12:46pm on 13 Jan 2009, paxidermo wrote:

    What is great about all this is that one day when Fergie leaves Man U, to concentrate on his racing horses, Man U will slump do a re-building process. I will then be laughing, only because of the criticism that Chelsea gets. There isn't a club in the world that would've coped with the way we coped when Mourinho left us.
    It on par with Fergie and Wenger leaving their clubs. Would they had achieved what we have since Mourinho left? I doubt it.


    Ummm remind me what Chelsea have achieved since Mourinho left. Oh yeah thats right, NOTHING. You silly, silly fool.

  • Comment number 24.

    As a Spurs fan, I don't have much good to say about Chelsea, but I really enjoyed the Mourinho years (obviously more for off the field than on) and would love to see him return to the Premiership. His charisma and wit are much missed!

  • Comment number 25.

    myscarface, you represent the arrogance of man utd fans when you say " we'll take o'neill "
    what makes you think o'neill would want to go. he has a perfect scenario at Villa, big club with poor recent history and a chairman who represents good solid values and doesnt interfere.
    aside from the fact that Villa are ( almost ) a top three / four club with improvements aplenty to come, O Neill would know full well that the best he could do at OT would to be maintain the high standards set by Fergie - it's a lose lose situation - he does and he was building on what Fergie left, he doesnt and he's a failure.
    villa are very much a team on the up, and within 3 years it could be man u managers looking for a promotion to the villa seat.

  • Comment number 26.

    As a United fan, I hope and prey that the club makes the right choice when SAF finally calls it a day. Whoever takes over will have without doubt a very difficult task, but fergie has made it easier by ensuring that the team is young and experienced. MON would be my choice. I hope villa can break the top 4 this year, at the expense of Arsenal.

  • Comment number 27.

    Instead of pundits on ALL tv and radio stations focusing on how bad chelsea were, how about some of them commenting just slightly on how good United were. We absolutely slaughtered them, could easily and should have bin 5 - 0.

  • Comment number 28.

    He must of been grinning after we THRASHED Chelski.

  • Comment number 29.

    number 8 john mandrake...

    What on earth makes you think that if Jose took over at old trafford he wouldn't get the chance to sculpt his own team?

    He's bound to end up at man utd. He's repeatedly said he wants to come back to england and where else would he rather go? Benitez job seems safe, Abramovic will never eat humble pie and as bad as they are I can't see Arsenal sacking Wenger. Man City would be an outside bet.

    But Fergie's only got a couple more years in him, which gives Jose time to grab a couple of titles at Inter, making his cv even better. And if you were the Man Utd chairman, who would you want? Mourinho, he'd definitely continue the dominance, which I hope doesn't happen as I support Liverpool!

  • Comment number 30.

    I think Mourinho will be the next United manager. A club like United needs charisma as well as success and Mourinho can provide that. His appointment will boost United's reputation around the world and adds a certain 'sexiness' to the club from the manager right down to the way they play. And United being United, will allow Mourinho to do his work without interfering and I think we will see the best of Mourinho then, better than he was at Porto. People often forget that he had a really attacking team at Porto (read his autobiography) and the only reason he was a bit defensive at Chelsea (and this was in the later stages anyway) was due to Abramovich's interference. Mourinho's ego and charisma works well for United and tactically, he is probably one of the best in the world. Many managers can get good results, but not many can get it in an instant like Mourinho can. He knows exactly what to change, exactly what substitution to make, and exactly what setpiece to use. This is his major strength and if he goes to United I am sure they will bring it to another level and strike fear into the other teams in the EPL.

  • Comment number 31.

    Seems we are paying for our ungrateful attitude towards Avram Grant ,who was able to steady the ship after the sudden departure of the Special one . At that point in time we were not playing well at all as a team.
    For now we have too many problems staring us in the face without any known solutions yet.
    Firstly , we are not a fanciful playing team and we should learn to stick with our effective and practical football strategy- even Mourinho couldnt achieve success henceforth when his masters where demanding an attractive blend of football which is un-chelseas like .
    Secondly, We have a bunch of tired legs who seems to have passed their prime and lack the needed vibrancy expected of a foremost club like Chelsea. Solution is we need to overhaul the team since we didnt plan for the future in the past ,the resultant is what we have now .
    Thirdly, Phil - a goodteam manager,seems to be learning on the job the routine and demands of english football and it might take him some time before we can start receiving the didvidend from him as well, though not from these set of players anyway.
    Lastly, we need to be fully focussed and not be disappointed as i envisaged this outcome longtime ago ,since in the first leg of the season we couldnt beat any of the other top four teams in our backyard , i smell trouble .

  • Comment number 32.

    chelsea lost to man u,big deal?Lets face it the team is dead at the moment.

  • Comment number 33.

    The special one was back at Man u and he looked even more handsome than before!!!
    I wish him all the luck in the champions league. I think Liverpool should be signing him, not Man u!

  • Comment number 34.

    Its an intriguing thought mourinho at OT, but I hope not because he is too defensively minded and too focused on physicality. If he proves otherwise at Inter then the manU board might invite him to take the reins, but I for one would be surprised. Also, long would he stay? 3-4 years?

    But it is beginning to look like he and SAF are the two outstanding managers of this period in time. And in 2 years there will be one left in service.

    ManU need the next manager to create a new dynasty and Martin O'Neill is the best man for that. or maybe David Moyes.

    O'Neill shares ManU's values and has proven himself at every club he has managed.

  • Comment number 35.

    i think mu will win the league fa cup , but not the champ/league

    p/s wha aplayer giggy. ev/neville/vid/van/.

    all the team ron/roo/bert/carr/feth/osh/ did i

    miss sum 1

  • Comment number 36.


    I see it mate, Liverpool are shocking to watch, unless in a cup of course. Also they look clueless when Mr.Liverpool aint playing.

    No doubt we will get flamed for saying it but lets just see where they are come the end of the season

  • Comment number 37.

    jose mourinho is one of the best managers areound. was unbeaten at home with porto not only winning domestic honours but also uefa cup and champions league came to chelsea and won 5 trophies in 3 seasons and now he has gone to milan he is top of the league and will probably win seria A. how is that overrated

  • Comment number 38.

    Murhino won a couple of league titles and what else in England? Nothing! Biggest waste of value for money ever. Would be delighted to see them get whupped by Man Utd. By the number 14, your massive step up means going from a team currently in 4th place to a team currently in 3rd. Get a grip!

  • Comment number 39.

    If all you Man U fans think that you played fantastically on Sunday. Then let me say that I fear for you should a team on form come across you right now.
    Your performance was nowhere near your average.
    You just came across a team with serious problems and you did nothing else but your job. Win.

    It's funny, when Mourinho was at Chelsea I would come on any blog here and everyone cussed Mourinho. Saying that he was arrogant, boring and rubbish. Basically negative views.

    Now all of a sudden EVERYONE wants him as if he's the best thing since sliced bread. Which he is.

    Don't be surprised and be very afraid if Mourinho makes a return to the Bridge.
    You never know in football.

    It would be great to see you all shaking in your boots!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    in 3 years in england mourinho won 2 league titles an fa cup and 2 cc cups thats 5 trophies. not only that in his first season he broke the record for most clean sheets least number of goals conceeded and longest time without conceeding a goal. he was a legend in england

  • Comment number 41.

    Mourinho does not play defensive. Once and for all, people need to get their facts straight. He adapted his Chelsea team to the players he had. He can actually be compared to S.A.F, with his success at Porto to his charisma.
    He will be the right person to take over at United. Personally, I would have him as first choice, and then give consideration to the Roma manager and to M.o.N. The Special 1 has a lot of the qualities to make him even more special at O.T.

    19. At 1:19pm on 13 Jan 2009, D_OFloinn wrote:

    You summed it up. United, after Fergie will not need rebuilding. The manager will simply be given time to settle and make a few minor tweaks. The setup is there and well established.

  • Comment number 42.

    Having said that, SAF shares a good relationship with Jose. Their is deep mutual respect for each other, which bodes well for Jose when SAF retires.

  • Comment number 43.

    Mourinho is good enough for it. Muntari, Mancini and Queresma should be good buys, and he shows he can do it on a budget and inter are doing really well in italy. Lets look at what he did:

    Porto - record points, league, portuguese cup, uefa cup, portugese super cup, league (secured 5 weeks early), champions league

    Chelsea - league cup, first league title in 50 years, manager of the year, community shield, league, manager of the year, league cup, fa cup plus an unbelievable home record

    Inter - italian supercup

    That is an unbelievable record. If Chelsea were so good when he took over, why did the previous manager not win all these titles. Why could Grant not. 2 premier league titles and a 2nd place in 3 years was not bad considering the competition. And at 45 he has many years to go.

    Martin O'Neil is fabulous at managing, just look at Villa, no longer mid table are they? But he is 56 and any job after Villa would be for an international team.

    Don't forget how good he is at getting the spotlight off players, and that would really help ronaldo, rooney and co.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm not on these comment pages a lot, but i thought if there was one place Jose would return to it would be man city?

    He's had the experience of running the most expensive club in the world before. And imagine this time round he'd be getting the respect and faith from the owners that Mark Hughes is somehow getting

  • Comment number 45.

    Jose is god.


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