The Irish Times
Mourinho ‘embarrassed’ by affection of Stamford Bridge fans
Chelsea manager says old rival Ranieri should be made manager of ‘half-term’
José Mourinho has admitted feeling humiliated by the warmth of the support he continues to receive from Chelsea’s fans but is optimistic that they will have soon something to cheer even more enthusiastically.
Mourinho takes his underperforming champions to the home of the unexpected Premier League leaders on Monday with Chelsea languishing 13 places and 17 points behind Leicester. But after Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Porto secured their place in the last-16 of the Champions League, the Portuguese paid tribute to Chelsea’s supporters for standing by him.
“The fans are being absolutely unbelievable with us,” he said. “I even feel a little bit . . . not knowing how to react when the people are so nice and they sing my name, you know, ‘Stand up for the Special One’. I feel embarrassed because I don’t know how to react. When you are champions, winning matches, you wave, you share the emotion with the people.
“One thing is for sure: Chelsea fans, they don’t have memory problems. Chelsea fans, they don’t need that special vitamin to feed memory, because their memory is amazing. Because if not, they don’t treat me the way they do.”
In the week that Garry Monk lost his job at Swansea after a run of one win in 11 league games and despite his achievement in taking the club to eighth last season, Mourinho – whose own future has been questioned after his side’s dismal start to the league season – reflected on the insecurity felt by managers.
“I feel very sorry for him,” he said of Monk. “Obviously I feel he did work that impressed last season, and the beginning of this season. He was doing so well and showing some great qualities as a manager. It was a surprise, but it is the reality at the moment in football. To be sacked, you only need to have a job.”
One manager who has received very little criticism this season is Claudio Ranieri, whose departure from Chelsea opened the way for Mourinho’s arrival in England in 2004 and is now impressing at Leicester.
“I think he should be made manager of the half-term, if that existed in football. If you could give an award for the first six months of competition, everybody is miles away from him. And every club is miles away from what Leicester is doing,” Mourinho said. “I know the distance between them and Manchester United, City, Arsenal is two, three, four points but they are the ones that deserve all this respect and all these compliments. Fantastic work.”
Mourinho takes his team to the King Power Stadium with the belief that, despite last week’s humbling home defeat to Bournemouth, the green shoots of recovery are evident.
“This is the end of a bad period, but we still have always some negative results that bring us back to a position we are not very proud with,” he said.
“I think the performance against Porto on Wednesday, in a high-level pressure match, I think the answer was so good that I don’t see any reason not to have the same kind of answer [on Monday].”