Picking up where he left off in his subdued interview with Chelsea TV last week after the announcement that he would return to the club, Jose Mourinho finally granted his fan club — the press — an audience on Monday. In the press conference, the words of the day were ones like "calm" and "stability" and Mourinho's demeanor reinforced those themes. Still, Jose Mourinho is Jose Mourinho and could give an interesting press conference with a vicious hangover. Here are the best bits from his latest show (via The Independent)...
We all remember your first press conference. Are you still a special one?
"I’m the happy one. [...] In this moment, if I have to describe myself, I describe myself as a very happy person. You know, it’s the first time I arrive in a club where I already love the club because, before, I was arriving and I had to do the emotional relation. I only came to love the club in time. This is a new feeling, arriving at a club where I love it already."
...mostly because Iker Casillas isn't here.
You fell out with Roman Abramovich. How did the relationship get patched up?
"That’s not true, as a start. That’s not true. I read and I kept listening I was fired, I was sacked, we had a complete break of relationships. That was not true. Many people didn’t believe in that, but it was mutual agreement. At the time we thought it was best for both of us, me and the club. It was a sad moment. [...] Only because there was never a break of a relation, it’s possible I’m here today. It wouldn’t be possible being here if we’d had real problems, no relations. I’m back because we feel we are in a moment of my professional life – and in the case of the owner also a moment of his career as an owner – where we are probably in the best moment of our careers, and ready to work together again and with much better conditions this time to succeed and have what this club wants: which is stability."
This a different account of the break-up from what the BBC published on Sunday. But Mourinho shouting "You can't fire me because I quit!" and then sticking his fingers in his ears and humming as he strolled out of the room seems very likely.
"I’m very calm, very relaxed, but at the same time there’s something I want very clear: I didn’t choose for my career a comfortable position because I’m returning to a house where I was happy and successful and where the fans love me. No. I’m coming with exactly the opposite perspective. I have more responsibility because of that. The expectations are higher because people know what I can deliver. I want to give you that message."
In other words, he chose a comfortable position because he was tired of being surrounded by people who didn't like him in Madrid, but he doesn't want you to think that comfort equals a lack of ambition.
Have you been affected by what happened in Spain?
"If I have to choose a nickname for this period, I’d choose ‘the happy one’ because I’m very happy."
This might be Mourinho's new daily affirmation. When he wakes up in the morning, he keeps repeating "I'm the Happy One...I'm very happy..." until he starts to believe it.
Do you want more stability?
"Yes, and now I'm prepared for that. Before I wasn't. I had always this kind of mentality. Today's June 10, Portuguese Day, a day of Portugal. I am Portuguese. I always love adventure, like Portuguese ones in the past. I was always a bit of a navigator, but I did always what I wanted to do. [...] Now it's up to me to show I deserve to be here for a long time. I have a contract for four years. I hope to go the last day of that contract. If the club then wants me to stay, I'll be more than happy."
So does that mean Roman Abramovich is really Portuguese too?
"I can't say which press I prefer, but you're not the worst."
Translation: "I like you and I hate Spain."
"I was, in the last three years, playing in a two-horse race. Now I move to a league where you lose more times, lose more points, but the competition is open. It's not just the two."
Translation: "Again, Spain is dumb."
John Terry is captain, but he was sidelined by Benitez. What did you think of that?
"One of my good qualities – I have some bad ones – is that I don't speak about a club when I leave it, and when I arrive at one I don't like to comment on what happened before me. For me, not one word about Benitez's decisions, either on John or another player."
He reserves all his comments on Benitez's decisions for the late-night prank phone calls he makes to Benitez's house four days a week.
Andres Iniesta said you've damaged Spanish football? Do you have any regrets?
"I damaged Spanish football by being the manager that broke Barcelona dominance. They were dominant, and dominant, and dominant, and it looked like a dominance without an end. Real Madrid won a cup final against Barcelona, Real Madrid won the Super Cup against Barcelona, Real Madrid won in Barcelona, and Real Madrid won the championship, which is the historic championship of 100 points and 121 goals. I hurt them, I hurt them."
"MWAHAHAHAHAHA," he concluded on the inside.
"I can control my emotions better now, whether that is in victory or in defeat."
"For example, I didn't call Andres Iniesta a tiny vampire with a receding hairline and I haven't jabbed anyone in the eyeball in at least a week."
What are your weaknesses?
"If I speak of them, I have to say I'm trying to improve them. You don't speak about weaknesses with your enemy, and my enemy will read the papers and watch television. We hide our weaknesses. Every player, manager has weaknesses. You have to try to hide them. So I'm not giving that chance for the enemy... with respect because, in sports, an enemy is not really an enemy. I know my weaknesses, not much... not many... but I try to improve and hide them."
"My weaknesses are invisible."
UPDATE: The very VERY best part of this press conference? The fact that Portuguese journalists brought Mourinho a welcome cake in a shape of a Chelsea shirt. Last season's Chelsea shirt.