Jose Mourinho's 'chair' comments did not go down well with Manchester United fans 5 years ago

Jose Mourinho's 'chair' comments did not go down well with Manchester United fans

First, a confession.

I belong to the rapidly diminishing brigade of Jose Mourinho admirers. The truth is simple. Ever since I watched on, tears streaming down my face, as he gallantly galloped down the touchline at Old Trafford as Porto crushed Manchester United's European dreams for another season, I have always been fascinated by him.


Soon after, he surfaced at Chelsea, called himself The Special One and duly lived up to that self-proclamation. Then he won the treble at Inter Milan in his first season and the admiration deepened. While what he has done since have produced mixed results (two more league titles with Real Madrid and Chelsea but undignified exits from both clubs), I've always regarded him as one of football's greatest serial winners.

It has admittedly been increasingly difficult to stay positive with him at United. Sure, he delivered two trophies in his first season but at times his overly cautious approach to big games has been joyless and indefensible.

And the commitment to this unattractive, functional brand of football has never cost him more than watching Wissam Ben Yedder deliver the mortal blow to United's quest for Champions League supremacy.

Of course, a knockout tie in the Champions League is decided over 180 minutes, not 90. But Mourinho left United in a precarious position by abandoning attacking intent in the first leg in Seville. Banking on the assumption that United would be stronger over two legs was asking for disaster, and disaster came.


When the final whistle blew, the usual scenes of despair and heartache beamed into our living rooms. There was Ashley Young on his honkers, looking spent. There was the classic grimace and wipe-the-face-wth-the-jersey moment from Romelu Lukaku.

Then the camera trained on Mourinho, the Portuguese coach sauntering down to the tunnel, hands buried in his coat pockets, soundtracked by a cacophony of boos and jeers.

It's difficult to predict which Mourinho you'll get during his post-match media engagements but United fans have every right to be enraged by what he said on Tuesday night.


"I've sat in this chair twice before in the Champions League, and I knock Man Utd out at home twice, with Porto - Man Utd out, and with Real Madrid - Man Utd out. So this is nothing new for this football club.

"I don't want to make a drama out of it, we don't have time for that. We have a match on Saturday, we have no time to be sad for more than 24 hours. And that's football, it's not the end of the world."

Reminding United of previous anguish is exactly what Mourinho should have been steering well clear of. "We don't have time for that" and "it's not the end of the world." These are not the sentiments Mourinho needs to deliver when he's just overseen one of the most aimless and disjointed attempts by a team to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals in the competition's history.

It is not good enough to say 'that's football' when United have only mustered four shots on target in 180 minutes of football against a team who have conceded five to Real Betis, Eibar, Spartak Moscow and Atletico and Real Madrid this season.

There was more too.


"I think the intention; the way we started was really good and really positive. Then after 10, 15 minutes after that success without goals, Sevilla has a good team and they can hide the ball.

"They have players in midfield who are really good at that. They tried to do that and did that for the majority of the time. In the first half I do not remember a dangerous situation for them, so I think it was a good controlled performance by them without any kind of danger.

"We had dangerous situations in the first half, and had again a good start in the second half and chances to score. Of course, the first goal always changes the direction of the game.

"Sometimes I am lucky with changes, sometimes other managers are lucky with their changes, and I think it was a good, happy move by Vincenzo (Montella) to bring on Ben Yedder, and when they score the first goal the game is completely different."

"Everything, everything together. Everybody spends money right, it's not just us, right? It's a natural process. I don't have regrets. I did my best, the players did their best, we tried, we lost, and that's football."

And therein lies the kicker. The timing of Montella's decision to introduce Ben Yedder was not lucky, it was erudite. The Italian knew that, with less than 20 minutes remaining, United would be forced to pour forward, thus leaving space as the game became increasingly stretched. Ben Yedder was the perfect player with which to exploit that. It proved a masterstroke.

But Mourinho's declaration that he does not have regrets betrays a man who will not change. Such performances leave my faith in the once venerable Mourinho hanging by a thread but, more importantly, remarks of this nature will only alienate Mourinho from United fans. That's not a road he wants to travel down.