It’s no secret that Jose Mourinho isn’t the biggest fan of Rafa Benitez, so it’s no surprise that before the season even began, he diminishes what the Spanish manager did with Chelsea last season, which is reach the Champions League and win the Europa League title.
Despite Mourinho usually referring to himself as a class act, he’s far from it. He sees himself as someone who is above the rest of the managerial world, and just like his “good friend” Alex Ferguson, he loves praising managers he knows he has no threat from, or he’s already beaten.
So before Mourinho has gotten to actually being on the sidelines for Chelsea in an official match, his first order of business is making everything that’s been done before him look like a failure. Why? That’s just his M.O.
After all, Manuel Pellegrini finished second with Real Madrid during his first season with Real Madrid. Jose Mourinho? Finished second as well, with an even better and more expensive squad. The difference? Jose Mourinho reaching the Champions League, and getting enough credit to remain two more seasons. He did win a league title, but his third season was a disaster on all fronts, including in the dressing room.
It would be a big disappointment for me to play in the Europa League. I don’t want my players to feel the Europa League is our competition. The Champions League is the only European competition we have to play and that’s the European competition we have to give our best.
But Mourinho likes to forget that Chelsea have tasted Champions League success not too long ago, and without him. He did win two league titles with the club in 2005 and 2006, but never reached the UCL final with the team. It was Avram Grant, with basically a Mourinho built side, and Roberto Di Matteo, that took the team to the final, losing on penalty kicks once, and winning a shootout four years later.
For some reason, Mourinho’s name is always attached to everything Chelsea does. While he was at Inter, while he was at Real Madrid. It’s easy to forget that he didn’t build a team in Stamford Bridge out of nothing. He got an open wallet from Roman Abramovich to spend and spend, more than those that came after him, by miles.
Yet Mourinho likes to give himself the credit, even if it isn’t in the most direct of ways. A manager who refuses to work without his team spending big for him probably rates himself a little bit too highly for his own good, and on the way diminishes anything and everything others have done before him, when they deserve the exact opposite.