London – Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho thanked all those behind his extraordinary career as he accepted a tribute award from England's Football Writers' Association on Sunday.
The Portuguese boss received the honour at gala dinner at London's Savoy Hotel just hours after Chelsea's 3-1 win over Premier League champions Manchester United at Stamford Bridge took them to within two points of leaders Arsenal.
From the moment he proclaimed himself the “Special One” ahead of his first spell in charge of Chelsea, having won the Champions League at former club Porto, Mourinho has proved a fertile source of headlines for the English football media.
But there has been plenty of substance to back up Mourinho's words, the 50-year-old guiding Chelsea to back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006 during his first spell at Stamford Bridge before a falling out with the west London club's Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.
Undaunted, Mourinho went on to win domestic titles at Inter Milan, where he also lifted the Champions League trophy for a second time, and Spanish giants Real Madrid before returning to Chelsea ahead of this season.
“Without love and happiness, I could not do my job,” said Mourinho, who was accompanied to the dinner by his wife and children.
He paid tribute to those who'd been instrumental in setting him on the path to football success, including celebrated Dutch coach Louis van Gaal and the late England manager Bobby Robson.
“My assistant (coaches) are like my brothers, Frank (Lampard) represents my players, without whom I have no career, and Mr van Gaal, Mr Robson, my bosses.”
Mourinho said the quality of life he and his family enjoyed in England had been a key factor in persuading him to come back to Chelsea.
“I sat down with my wife and family, and said 'where is the best place for us? Where can we be happier as a family? To be happy as a manager and enjoy more the family and life socially?'
“We decided England, after that, for the situation to be perfect it would be Chelsea and I was lucky because the door was open for me,” added Mourinho whose son, Jose junior, is a promising goalkeeper.
Mourinho said he wanted to stay at Chelsea and joked that if they sacked him again he would join another Premier League club, such is his love of England.
“The principles you have in relation to football and life are absolutely amazing,” he explained.
“I love this Chelsea Football Club, which has been the only club to have ever sacked me, we as a family belong to you (in) England.
“I belong to Chelsea, Chelsea belongs to me, and hopefully we will stay for many, many years.”
“It is not a threat, but if you sack me, I will stay in England and go to another club, a possible rival.”
Chelsea midfielder Lampard, one of several leading football figures, including England manager Roy Hodgson, at the Savoy, praised Mourinho for the way he inspired his players.
“There has never been any special over-confidence or arrogance from him,” Lampard said. “He made us all feel like we could be champions.
“He found the perfect way to deal with every individual in his squad, and still does today.”
The England international added: “He is the one who has all the pluses, I cannot find a fault.
“He drags every individual up a level, anything that is needed he is the one that takes that on and that is why he one of the most special managers around.” – Sapa-AFP