Old Trafford is full of memories and feels like home to me, admits Jose

11 March 2009 03:06
Jose Mourinho has coached teams at Old Trafford so many times since he first drew blood in Manchester five years ago that he believes it already feels like home to him.

Nevertheless, the current coach of Inter Milan faces his friend and rival Sir Alex Ferguson in the Champions League tonight feeling that he or anybody else for that matter will have to wait a few years before they get to audition for the job as the Manchester United

manager's successor.

Mourinho would love the chance to return to the Barclays Premier League as manager and what is equally certain is that the former Chelsea

coach would take the job with Ferguson's blessing.

Welcome home: Mourinho brings his Inter Milan side to Old Trafford aware that he has only lost once in thirteen games against Sir Alex Ferguson

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EXCLUSIVE: When Jose met Phil. Inter boss Mourinho claims they were chatting about coaching but was Neville giving him the inside track on Manchester United?

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But asked about the possibility at his press conference at Old Trafford yesterday, Mourinho said: 'Yes, I think I would like it in 20 years maybe. I think so.

'Sir Alex will not leave yet. He is top and he is tough and he is strong. He is happy and he is winning so let him stay here for 20 more years. I hope he does, anyway.'

Mourinho's career has been intrinsically linked with Ferguson and United ever since he sped down the Old Trafford touchline on seeing his Porto team score the decisive late goal that knocked the English team out of the competition five years ago this week.

His record against Ferguson is remarkable. From 13 games, he has won six and lost only one.

Two weeks ago in Milan his team should have suffered at United's hands, but by emerging with a 0-0 draw in the first leg Mourinho clearly feels Inter have a platform from which they can spring what would be a surprise at his favourite English stadium tonight.

Honours even: Inter keeper Julio Cesar thwarts Wayne Rooney at the San Siro

Mourinho added: 'Five years was a long time ago. But then maybe it doesn't feel that long ago.

'That was my first time here. Everything was new for me. But now it feels like home. Over four years I came here a lot of times, in the Premier League and for Carling Cup and FA Cup semi-finals.

'This stadium has been part of my life and that gives me a terrific feeling. I even know the grassman (groundsman). He is a nice guy. This is just a pleasure to me. It doesn't scare me.

'It is a pleasure and I want my players to feel that about the game. Even the flu I have at the moment doesn't take anything away from this.

'That goal five years ago was important. It changed my life. It opened doors in England for me. My career was never the same after that. Without that goal we would not have reached the quarter-final and it was a big thing for us all to come here and win.

'Nobody knew us then. Nobody knew the crazy man running up the touchline. A few years later people knew the players and they knew me. It was a crucial moment in our careers.'

Crazy man: Mourinho is apoplectic after his first visit to Old trafford

United begin tonight's game as clear favourites to progress at the expense of an Italian side who traditionally find it difficult to reach the last eight of the competition.

Ferguson pulled his press conference forward by two hours yesterday lunchtime and looked as though he was dressed for Cheltenham and the meeting in which his horse What a Friend runs as second favourite in the 2.40 today.

This afternoon a TV set at home will have to do as he watches proceedings at the Festival but the United manager insisted yesterday that the stress of watching his horses tackling the fences does not compare to what he will go through tonight.

'When he's coming over that last fence, with three around him, I won't be relaxed,' he smiled.

'But it's just a bit of fun, I don't get too uptight about it. It's a bit of relaxation; I don't get too upset if he loses and too excited if he wins. There was never a chance of me going for the race, though.'

The welcome news for Ferguson yesterday was that defender Rio Ferdinand came through a training session with no pain in his ankle and he will partner Nemanja Vidic against the threat of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Italian league leaders' striker, tonight.

Last line of defence: Ferdinand will be fit to face Ibrahimovich, with the Swede yet to score in 13 games in the Champions League knockout stages

Asked about his poor record against Mourinho, Ferguson claimed not to care. He said: 'It proves that I'm not infallible. I'm vulnerable to anyone who gets into football.

'It doesn't concern me, personal records, to be honest with you. I prefer to look at the football club and I have every right to be proud about what we have achieved over the time I have been here.'

It is hard to disagree.

 PROBABLE LINE-UP MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): Van der Sar; O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Giggs, Carrick; Ronaldo, Berbatov, Park; Rooney.

INTER MILAN (4-3-2-1): Cesar; Maicon, Samuel, Cordoba, Santon; Vieira, Cambiasso, Zanetti; Balotelli, Stankovic; Ibrahimovic.

Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Germany).

TV: Sky Sports 2, 7.30pm. Kick-off 7.45pm.

 MARTIN SAMUEL: We could do with another dose of Jose Mourinho

ASH WEDNESDAY: Mourinho for Man U? Jose would rip United apart and job-for-life Sir Alex will never stand for that

EXCLUSIVE: When Jose met Phil. Inter boss Mourinho claims they were chatting about coaching but was Neville giving him the inside track on Manchester United?

Pictures emerge of United's 'new away kit' honouring a century of success

PICTURE SPECIAL: Revealed - The secret training routines helping United get pumped up for Inter as Rooney sticks the boot into Tevez

MANCHESTER UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE WEB



 

Source: Daily_Mail