Mourinho: the 'Special One' becomes the 'Better One'
At the age of 60 and preparing to coach in his sixth European final, silver-haired Roma manager Jose Mourinho might prefer to give himself a new nickname these days.
How about the 'Special One' becoming the 'Better One'?
Two decades after guiding Porto to the UEFA Cup for his first continental trophy, Mourinho considers himself a "better coach" and a "better person."
Mourinho, who famously referred to himself as a "Special One" when he was introduced as Chelsea manager in 2004, was asked on Thursday what has changed for him since he emerged on the European stage.
"Our job is not like a player's job. You can be better and better with your experiences," Mourinho said at Roma's media day for the Europa League final.
"As a player, you need your body and your body, of course, does not respond the same way when you are 30 or you are 40.
"As a coach, I think your brain becomes sharper and the accumulation of knowledge is better with the years.
"I think you stop when you lose motivation, which is not the case — my motivation goes up every day. I have no problems with that. So I think I'm better now."
Roma face Europa League specialists Sevilla next Wednesday in Budapest, Hungary, as Mourinho looks to bring a second European trophy to the Italian capital after winning the Europa Conference League in his first season with the Giallorossi.
In all, Mourinho is, remarkably, five-for-five in European finals. He also won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan and the Europa League at Manchester United.
"It's too bad we can't play a final every week," he smiled.
With speculation swirling over whether Mourinho will return to honour the third and final season of his contract at Roma, the Portuguese coach was also asked about what he takes away emotionally from each of his clubs when he leaves.
Mourinho responded by bringing up his previous job, when dressing-room apathy and growing disillusionment at his defensive tactics cost him his position at Tottenham after 17 months at the London club — six days before the English League Cup final.
"I hope the Tottenham fans don't get me wrong but the only club in my career where I don't have still a deep feeling is Tottenham," Mourinho said.
"Probably because the stadium was empty (due to the pandemic), probably because (club chairman Daniel) Levy didn't let me win a final and win a trophy.
"But it is the only one. Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United — all the clubs I feel a connection.
"I go in the streets so many times in Italy and I find Inter fans. I go in London – not just the Chelsea fans but also the Man United fans. Real Madrid all over the world," Mourinho said.
"It's about the feeling that give you everything. … People think, 'You cannot love every club.' Yes, I love every club. I love every club because I felt the other way around — they also loved me.
"So with Roma, one day it will be hard but we will be connected forever like I am with all my previous clubs — apart (from) Mr. Levy's club."