Jose Mourinho insists there was never any chance he would try to succeed Alex Ferguson at Manchester United even though he knew Fergie was set to retire months before the rest of the world.
Although Mourinho claimed Ferguson told him several months ago he was planning to quit, even that bombshell apparently didn’t persuade the Portuguese coach to make a play for the United job.
“I knew that Ferguson was retiring many months ago. And I’m so happy with this trust because it’s big news for the world,” Mourinho said. “I can imagine just a very close circle around him knew that and it was a big responsibility for me to know. Why do I know that? I know because we are friends.”
Mourinho also informed Ferguson of his desire to return to Chelsea: “So if I am Sir Alex's friend to know he is going to retire, he is also my friend to know that the club I want to coach in England is Chelsea. Of course, I told him that. I told him I want to come to Chelsea. I would turn down everyone in the world for Chelsea.
“Come to England and not to come to Chelsea? Only if Chelsea doesn't want me. If Chelsea doesn't want me, I am a professional, I have to follow my life, I have to be happy in another place.”
Back at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho is keen to talk positively of his dealings with Roman Abramovich, even with regards to the decision to sign Andriy Shevchenko, seen as a sign of the owner meddling in team affairs.
“Do you want to know the truth? I hope the board is not upset with me,” he said. “We wanted to buy Samuel Eto'o and the boss (Abramovich) did everything to bring him. In the end, Barcelona said we don't sell, forget it. So then we looked at Shevchenko. I was happy with Shevchenko. Even with the top dogs that you buy for millions, sometimes it doesn't work. It doesn't mean you or the club made a mistake. It just doesn't work."
Selfish? Be warned
Mourinho warned the errant players in the squad to fall in line or risk facing the consequences.
“If you are a top professional, if you are not a selfish person, if you put the club in front of yourself and if you are here to work 100 per-cent for me, for your fellow players and for the club, we will have a wonderful relationship," he said.
“If you are selfish, if you don't care about the club, don't care about the fans, don't care about the image, we are in big trouble.
“Sometimes you find a couple of guys who are not so keen to accept these kind of rules and this is where you have some problematic relationships."