London – Sir Alex Ferguson believes Jose Mourinho could be the man to replace him at Manchester United. A fortnight ago the pair shared afternoon tea at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, where Real Madrid were staying ahead of their Champions League match against Manchester City.
The Portuguese has made it clear his ambition is to manage in England again and, when asked if Mourinho could replace him at United when he retires, Ferguson, 70, said: “He can manage anywhere, absolutely. I would never think a guy who hasn’t played a game could be a top coach but then you’ve got to look at his personality. He’s got a marvellous, strong personality and that bridges that gap.
“I remember his first press conference [at Chelsea] and I thought, ‘Christ, he’s a cocky b*****, him’. He was telling the players, ‘Look, I’m the special one, we don’t lose games’. Bloody hell, coming to England, he is only a young man and saying he is the special one! But it told all the players to have the belief they were going to win the league.”
In an interview for tonight’s ITV4 documentary Mourinho, Ferguson reveals how he became friends with the Real boss following United’s defeat by Porto in the Champions League in 2004. He was struck by the difference in Mourinho’s personality when away from the cameras.
The Scot said: “When he comes into my office he can take a joke against himself, that is what I like about him. I give him a lot of stick and he laughs it off.
“I don’t think it bothers Jose [having a controversial image]. He knows it is results that count.”
Mourinho has made it clear he has unfinished business in England. He is desperate to win the Champions League – the one trophy that eluded him at Chelsea – with an English club. His failure to win the competition cost him his job.
The 49-year-old said: “In my career everything was perfect. The only thing I didn’t, and I hope I can do it one day, is to win a Champions League with an English club. Nobody puts pressure on me because I put pressure on myself.”
In October, he said after Madrid “the next step will be England, but when? I don’t know”.
During 10 years of management, Mourinho has won 20 trophies. Ferguson has 48 in 26 years but he does not rule out his haul being overtaken by Mourinho. “He is a greedy b*****,” said Ferguson. – Daily Mail