Interview

'I always want to win'

As José Mourinho sets his sights on more silverware with tonight’s Europa Conference League final against Feyenoord, the Roma boss talks about bringing his Champions League experience to bear

You’re the first coach to reach the final of the four main European competitions with four different clubs. How does that make you feel?

It makes me think I always want to win the next game, and the next game is always the one I have yet to win. When I call time on my career, I’ll probably have time to look back on what I achieved. It’s an important achievement. If I win four European competitions with four different clubs, I’ll never forget the first, which was the Cup Winners’ Cup as assistant coach to the late, great Bobby Robson at Barcelona. Every time I sat beside him, I felt very proud.

Does each new achievement mean more than the previous one?

It does. You can win the first by being in the right place at the right time; winning the second time is tougher, and the third even tougher. That’s why winning means something to me. It’s one thing to achieve success in a fixed amount of time and another to achieve success continuously throughout a long career.

You’ve never lost a European final. How do you get the best out of your teams for those decisive 90 minutes?

The players are the ones who win and we help them. When the final comes it is their day, when they can make a difference. I always say that the work leading up to the final, over several months, is the basis for those 90 or 120 minutes. I have been lucky so far: my players have turned up in the finals we reached.

José won the treble with Inter in 2011.

Do you still prepare in the same way for a final, or has your approach changed over the years?

It hasn’t changed. I always remember the time I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson before the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford [in 2013], Manchester United v Real Madrid. He invited me to his office, which later became my office. While the players were warming up, I asked him, “What is it like, boss? Does it change over the years?” He said, “Forget about it, nothing changes; it’s the same until the very last day.” And he was right. What changes is the experience during the game. It’s the calmness with which you see and understand things. The way we perceive it, the way we prepare for it, the way we live, does not change.

And how do you prepare a team for a final of this magnitude?

I prepare them throughout the year. There is no final you can prepare for a day before, two days before or a week before. I believe in sustained work and then there are some details that need to be improved in the days leading up to the final. Perhaps there are conversations with players – trying to prepare them in a slightly different way – but the work starts at the beginning of the season. You reach the final as a team and you must play the final as a team.

Were there many expectations about reaching a final when you arrived at Roma?

There were some expectations, at least internally, in terms of developing a structure for a better future. I have this good trait of always trying to value every single competition we play. I remember when I arrived at Chelsea in 2004, people didn’t give much attention to the League Cup. Then we started playing our best team, trying to win it, and we made it to finals against Liverpool and Arsenal. These days it’s a competition with great value. So I felt a little bit of responsibility when UEFA brought in the Conference League. Mainly because I am a manager with history and Roma is a big club. Little by little, we achieved that ambition of going as far as possible.

Roma have never won a European title, so does that make this final even more significant?

It does. But we have to forget that. You need to treat a final as an individual game that brings its own pressure, tension and sense of responsibility. Everything that you feel in the lead-up to the game and during the game is already enough to deal with. It should be enough for us to forget the fact that Roma lost a European final at the Stadio Olimpico.

And as you head into this final, are you as passionate as ever?

The passion doesn’t change. That is why I keep saying I cannot believe I am 59. I cannot believe I have a 21 or 22-year career as a head coach. I cannot tell you when I am going to stop because I cannot visualise it.

You’re the first coach to reach the final of the four main European competitions with four different clubs. How does that make you feel?

It makes me think I always want to win the next game, and the next game is always the one I have yet to win. When I call time on my career, I’ll probably have time to look back on what I achieved. It’s an important achievement. If I win four European competitions with four different clubs, I’ll never forget the first, which was the Cup Winners’ Cup as assistant coach to the late, great Bobby Robson at Barcelona. Every time I sat beside him, I felt very proud.

Does each new achievement mean more than the previous one?

It does. You can win the first by being in the right place at the right time; winning the second time is tougher, and the third even tougher. That’s why winning means something to me. It’s one thing to achieve success in a fixed amount of time and another to achieve success continuously throughout a long career.

You’ve never lost a European final. How do you get the best out of your teams for those decisive 90 minutes?

The players are the ones who win and we help them. When the final comes it is their day, when they can make a difference. I always say that the work leading up to the final, over several months, is the basis for those 90 or 120 minutes. I have been lucky so far: my players have turned up in the finals we reached.

José won the treble with Inter in 2011.

Do you still prepare in the same way for a final, or has your approach changed over the years?

It hasn’t changed. I always remember the time I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson before the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford [in 2013], Manchester United v Real Madrid. He invited me to his office, which later became my office. While the players were warming up, I asked him, “What is it like, boss? Does it change over the years?” He said, “Forget about it, nothing changes; it’s the same until the very last day.” And he was right. What changes is the experience during the game. It’s the calmness with which you see and understand things. The way we perceive it, the way we prepare for it, the way we live, does not change.

And how do you prepare a team for a final of this magnitude?

I prepare them throughout the year. There is no final you can prepare for a day before, two days before or a week before. I believe in sustained work and then there are some details that need to be improved in the days leading up to the final. Perhaps there are conversations with players – trying to prepare them in a slightly different way – but the work starts at the beginning of the season. You reach the final as a team and you must play the final as a team.

Were there many expectations about reaching a final when you arrived at Roma?

There were some expectations, at least internally, in terms of developing a structure for a better future. I have this good trait of always trying to value every single competition we play. I remember when I arrived at Chelsea in 2004, people didn’t give much attention to the League Cup. Then we started playing our best team, trying to win it, and we made it to finals against Liverpool and Arsenal. These days it’s a competition with great value. So I felt a little bit of responsibility when UEFA brought in the Conference League. Mainly because I am a manager with history and Roma is a big club. Little by little, we achieved that ambition of going as far as possible.

Roma have never won a European title, so does that make this final even more significant?

It does. But we have to forget that. You need to treat a final as an individual game that brings its own pressure, tension and sense of responsibility. Everything that you feel in the lead-up to the game and during the game is already enough to deal with. It should be enough for us to forget the fact that Roma lost a European final at the Stadio Olimpico.

And as you head into this final, are you as passionate as ever?

The passion doesn’t change. That is why I keep saying I cannot believe I am 59. I cannot believe I have a 21 or 22-year career as a head coach. I cannot tell you when I am going to stop because I cannot visualise it.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

You’re the first coach to reach the final of the four main European competitions with four different clubs. How does that make you feel?

It makes me think I always want to win the next game, and the next game is always the one I have yet to win. When I call time on my career, I’ll probably have time to look back on what I achieved. It’s an important achievement. If I win four European competitions with four different clubs, I’ll never forget the first, which was the Cup Winners’ Cup as assistant coach to the late, great Bobby Robson at Barcelona. Every time I sat beside him, I felt very proud.

Does each new achievement mean more than the previous one?

It does. You can win the first by being in the right place at the right time; winning the second time is tougher, and the third even tougher. That’s why winning means something to me. It’s one thing to achieve success in a fixed amount of time and another to achieve success continuously throughout a long career.

You’ve never lost a European final. How do you get the best out of your teams for those decisive 90 minutes?

The players are the ones who win and we help them. When the final comes it is their day, when they can make a difference. I always say that the work leading up to the final, over several months, is the basis for those 90 or 120 minutes. I have been lucky so far: my players have turned up in the finals we reached.

José won the treble with Inter in 2011.

Do you still prepare in the same way for a final, or has your approach changed over the years?

It hasn’t changed. I always remember the time I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson before the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford [in 2013], Manchester United v Real Madrid. He invited me to his office, which later became my office. While the players were warming up, I asked him, “What is it like, boss? Does it change over the years?” He said, “Forget about it, nothing changes; it’s the same until the very last day.” And he was right. What changes is the experience during the game. It’s the calmness with which you see and understand things. The way we perceive it, the way we prepare for it, the way we live, does not change.

And how do you prepare a team for a final of this magnitude?

I prepare them throughout the year. There is no final you can prepare for a day before, two days before or a week before. I believe in sustained work and then there are some details that need to be improved in the days leading up to the final. Perhaps there are conversations with players – trying to prepare them in a slightly different way – but the work starts at the beginning of the season. You reach the final as a team and you must play the final as a team.

Were there many expectations about reaching a final when you arrived at Roma?

There were some expectations, at least internally, in terms of developing a structure for a better future. I have this good trait of always trying to value every single competition we play. I remember when I arrived at Chelsea in 2004, people didn’t give much attention to the League Cup. Then we started playing our best team, trying to win it, and we made it to finals against Liverpool and Arsenal. These days it’s a competition with great value. So I felt a little bit of responsibility when UEFA brought in the Conference League. Mainly because I am a manager with history and Roma is a big club. Little by little, we achieved that ambition of going as far as possible.

Roma have never won a European title, so does that make this final even more significant?

It does. But we have to forget that. You need to treat a final as an individual game that brings its own pressure, tension and sense of responsibility. Everything that you feel in the lead-up to the game and during the game is already enough to deal with. It should be enough for us to forget the fact that Roma lost a European final at the Stadio Olimpico.

And as you head into this final, are you as passionate as ever?

The passion doesn’t change. That is why I keep saying I cannot believe I am 59. I cannot believe I have a 21 or 22-year career as a head coach. I cannot tell you when I am going to stop because I cannot visualise it.

'I always want to win'
Interview

'I always want to win'

As José Mourinho sets his sights on more silverware with tonight’s Europa Conference League final against Feyenoord, the Roma boss talks about bringing his Champions League experience to bear

You’re the first coach to reach the final of the four main European competitions with four different clubs. How does that make you feel?

It makes me think I always want to win the next game, and the next game is always the one I have yet to win. When I call time on my career, I’ll probably have time to look back on what I achieved. It’s an important achievement. If I win four European competitions with four different clubs, I’ll never forget the first, which was the Cup Winners’ Cup as assistant coach to the late, great Bobby Robson at Barcelona. Every time I sat beside him, I felt very proud.

Does each new achievement mean more than the previous one?

It does. You can win the first by being in the right place at the right time; winning the second time is tougher, and the third even tougher. That’s why winning means something to me. It’s one thing to achieve success in a fixed amount of time and another to achieve success continuously throughout a long career.

You’ve never lost a European final. How do you get the best out of your teams for those decisive 90 minutes?

The players are the ones who win and we help them. When the final comes it is their day, when they can make a difference. I always say that the work leading up to the final, over several months, is the basis for those 90 or 120 minutes. I have been lucky so far: my players have turned up in the finals we reached.

José won the treble with Inter in 2011.

Do you still prepare in the same way for a final, or has your approach changed over the years?

It hasn’t changed. I always remember the time I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson before the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford [in 2013], Manchester United v Real Madrid. He invited me to his office, which later became my office. While the players were warming up, I asked him, “What is it like, boss? Does it change over the years?” He said, “Forget about it, nothing changes; it’s the same until the very last day.” And he was right. What changes is the experience during the game. It’s the calmness with which you see and understand things. The way we perceive it, the way we prepare for it, the way we live, does not change.

And how do you prepare a team for a final of this magnitude?

I prepare them throughout the year. There is no final you can prepare for a day before, two days before or a week before. I believe in sustained work and then there are some details that need to be improved in the days leading up to the final. Perhaps there are conversations with players – trying to prepare them in a slightly different way – but the work starts at the beginning of the season. You reach the final as a team and you must play the final as a team.

Were there many expectations about reaching a final when you arrived at Roma?

There were some expectations, at least internally, in terms of developing a structure for a better future. I have this good trait of always trying to value every single competition we play. I remember when I arrived at Chelsea in 2004, people didn’t give much attention to the League Cup. Then we started playing our best team, trying to win it, and we made it to finals against Liverpool and Arsenal. These days it’s a competition with great value. So I felt a little bit of responsibility when UEFA brought in the Conference League. Mainly because I am a manager with history and Roma is a big club. Little by little, we achieved that ambition of going as far as possible.

Roma have never won a European title, so does that make this final even more significant?

It does. But we have to forget that. You need to treat a final as an individual game that brings its own pressure, tension and sense of responsibility. Everything that you feel in the lead-up to the game and during the game is already enough to deal with. It should be enough for us to forget the fact that Roma lost a European final at the Stadio Olimpico.

And as you head into this final, are you as passionate as ever?

The passion doesn’t change. That is why I keep saying I cannot believe I am 59. I cannot believe I have a 21 or 22-year career as a head coach. I cannot tell you when I am going to stop because I cannot visualise it.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

You’re the first coach to reach the final of the four main European competitions with four different clubs. How does that make you feel?

It makes me think I always want to win the next game, and the next game is always the one I have yet to win. When I call time on my career, I’ll probably have time to look back on what I achieved. It’s an important achievement. If I win four European competitions with four different clubs, I’ll never forget the first, which was the Cup Winners’ Cup as assistant coach to the late, great Bobby Robson at Barcelona. Every time I sat beside him, I felt very proud.

Does each new achievement mean more than the previous one?

It does. You can win the first by being in the right place at the right time; winning the second time is tougher, and the third even tougher. That’s why winning means something to me. It’s one thing to achieve success in a fixed amount of time and another to achieve success continuously throughout a long career.

You’ve never lost a European final. How do you get the best out of your teams for those decisive 90 minutes?

The players are the ones who win and we help them. When the final comes it is their day, when they can make a difference. I always say that the work leading up to the final, over several months, is the basis for those 90 or 120 minutes. I have been lucky so far: my players have turned up in the finals we reached.

José won the treble with Inter in 2011.

Do you still prepare in the same way for a final, or has your approach changed over the years?

It hasn’t changed. I always remember the time I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson before the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford [in 2013], Manchester United v Real Madrid. He invited me to his office, which later became my office. While the players were warming up, I asked him, “What is it like, boss? Does it change over the years?” He said, “Forget about it, nothing changes; it’s the same until the very last day.” And he was right. What changes is the experience during the game. It’s the calmness with which you see and understand things. The way we perceive it, the way we prepare for it, the way we live, does not change.

And how do you prepare a team for a final of this magnitude?

I prepare them throughout the year. There is no final you can prepare for a day before, two days before or a week before. I believe in sustained work and then there are some details that need to be improved in the days leading up to the final. Perhaps there are conversations with players – trying to prepare them in a slightly different way – but the work starts at the beginning of the season. You reach the final as a team and you must play the final as a team.

Were there many expectations about reaching a final when you arrived at Roma?

There were some expectations, at least internally, in terms of developing a structure for a better future. I have this good trait of always trying to value every single competition we play. I remember when I arrived at Chelsea in 2004, people didn’t give much attention to the League Cup. Then we started playing our best team, trying to win it, and we made it to finals against Liverpool and Arsenal. These days it’s a competition with great value. So I felt a little bit of responsibility when UEFA brought in the Conference League. Mainly because I am a manager with history and Roma is a big club. Little by little, we achieved that ambition of going as far as possible.

Roma have never won a European title, so does that make this final even more significant?

It does. But we have to forget that. You need to treat a final as an individual game that brings its own pressure, tension and sense of responsibility. Everything that you feel in the lead-up to the game and during the game is already enough to deal with. It should be enough for us to forget the fact that Roma lost a European final at the Stadio Olimpico.

And as you head into this final, are you as passionate as ever?

The passion doesn’t change. That is why I keep saying I cannot believe I am 59. I cannot believe I have a 21 or 22-year career as a head coach. I cannot tell you when I am going to stop because I cannot visualise it.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

You’re the first coach to reach the final of the four main European competitions with four different clubs. How does that make you feel?

It makes me think I always want to win the next game, and the next game is always the one I have yet to win. When I call time on my career, I’ll probably have time to look back on what I achieved. It’s an important achievement. If I win four European competitions with four different clubs, I’ll never forget the first, which was the Cup Winners’ Cup as assistant coach to the late, great Bobby Robson at Barcelona. Every time I sat beside him, I felt very proud.

Does each new achievement mean more than the previous one?

It does. You can win the first by being in the right place at the right time; winning the second time is tougher, and the third even tougher. That’s why winning means something to me. It’s one thing to achieve success in a fixed amount of time and another to achieve success continuously throughout a long career.

You’ve never lost a European final. How do you get the best out of your teams for those decisive 90 minutes?

The players are the ones who win and we help them. When the final comes it is their day, when they can make a difference. I always say that the work leading up to the final, over several months, is the basis for those 90 or 120 minutes. I have been lucky so far: my players have turned up in the finals we reached.

José won the treble with Inter in 2011.

Do you still prepare in the same way for a final, or has your approach changed over the years?

It hasn’t changed. I always remember the time I spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson before the Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford [in 2013], Manchester United v Real Madrid. He invited me to his office, which later became my office. While the players were warming up, I asked him, “What is it like, boss? Does it change over the years?” He said, “Forget about it, nothing changes; it’s the same until the very last day.” And he was right. What changes is the experience during the game. It’s the calmness with which you see and understand things. The way we perceive it, the way we prepare for it, the way we live, does not change.

And how do you prepare a team for a final of this magnitude?

I prepare them throughout the year. There is no final you can prepare for a day before, two days before or a week before. I believe in sustained work and then there are some details that need to be improved in the days leading up to the final. Perhaps there are conversations with players – trying to prepare them in a slightly different way – but the work starts at the beginning of the season. You reach the final as a team and you must play the final as a team.

Were there many expectations about reaching a final when you arrived at Roma?

There were some expectations, at least internally, in terms of developing a structure for a better future. I have this good trait of always trying to value every single competition we play. I remember when I arrived at Chelsea in 2004, people didn’t give much attention to the League Cup. Then we started playing our best team, trying to win it, and we made it to finals against Liverpool and Arsenal. These days it’s a competition with great value. So I felt a little bit of responsibility when UEFA brought in the Conference League. Mainly because I am a manager with history and Roma is a big club. Little by little, we achieved that ambition of going as far as possible.

Roma have never won a European title, so does that make this final even more significant?

It does. But we have to forget that. You need to treat a final as an individual game that brings its own pressure, tension and sense of responsibility. Everything that you feel in the lead-up to the game and during the game is already enough to deal with. It should be enough for us to forget the fact that Roma lost a European final at the Stadio Olimpico.

And as you head into this final, are you as passionate as ever?

The passion doesn’t change. That is why I keep saying I cannot believe I am 59. I cannot believe I have a 21 or 22-year career as a head coach. I cannot tell you when I am going to stop because I cannot visualise it.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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