Jose Mourinho claims he had to “beg Real Madrid to let me go”, but does not expect to suffer a similar ending to his time at Manchester United.
Mourinho’s turbulent three-year spell at Santiago Bernabeu came to an end in May 2013 by mutual agreement with the Spanish giants despite the fact he still had three years remaining on his contract.
The Portuguese returned to Chelsea for a second spell a month later before moving to United for the start of the 2016-17 season.
Mourinho won the EFL Cup and the Europa League in his first year at Old Trafford – the second of those trophies guaranteeing United a place in the Champions League – and the 54-year-old is confident his time in Lancashire will be more successful.
“My work goes beyond taking over a football team and transforming it into an attacking team,” he told Portuguese newspaper Record.”It is about mixing a new structure and trying to make it more dynamic, which is what I’m doing in Manchester. It is an identical situation to what happened at Real Madrid.”It is a big club with great expectations, going through a difficult period because [in Madrid] the gap with Barcelona increased more and more.”We all felt, the club, the president, the director, that the difficult part was done and that’s why they wanted me to stay. Actually, I almost had to beg them to let me leave.”Mourinho won LaLiga, the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de Espana during his time in the Spanish capital.
“Real Madrid, for me, was really something that I wanted to do. It was something I had a chance to do twice before and didn’t. And on the third time, I don’t think you can say ‘no’ three times to such a club. I wanted to go and win the title in Spain, but it was not for me to stay. I was not in love with my life there. I wanted to come back to England and in that case, to Chelsea.”
Asked what he considered the hardest part of rebuilding United following the underwhelming reign of Louis van Gaal, he told reporters: “The hardest part in my opinion was the period where there was an evolution in football overall, in terms of every other team, not just the typical powerful teams, but all the others. Their evolution in relation to the changes in football allowed them also to be economically strong.
“At the same time there was an evolution and Man United did not follow that evolution and my work is not just about arriving at a football team and developing the football team to attack, football targets and objectives, it was more than that.
“It was to go into the structure and to try to adapt the structure around the football team to a new dynamic. And that was the same at Real Madrid, a big club with big expectations but a difficult period with the evolution of other teams and the distance between Real Madrid and Barcelona growing bigger and bigger and bigger.
“When I arrived it was not just about developing a football team to try to stop that domination, but to also develop everything around the team and in that respect I can see similarities in terms of the difficulties and similarities in terms of the dimension of my job.
“I think what we did last season, Europa League, League Cup, sixth in the Premier League is what gets into your eyes. But I know that my job was much more than just the success in some competitions and being unsuccessful in the Premier League.