José Mourinho released his first interview since he parted company with Chelsea in December.
He did while being in Sweden for commercial act with Jaguar, whose the former Blues manager is testimonial.
In the cold Arjeplog, a one horse town in the far north of Sweden whose horses swell in number every winter as the car industry decamps to inflict a brutal cold weather testing regimen on still-secret new models.
“I remember playing a match in Russia,” Jose Mourinho says. “It must have been -10˚C, so cold that some of the players were crying. We thought that one of the linesmen had died…
“Look at the nature. My football world involves thousands of people, and we travel to the biggest cities. So to come here, it’s an empty place, but it’s so full of so many things. I just love it. I know it’s very cold, I know that I would not survive outside for many hours here, but the experience is magnificent, the beauty is fantastic. For people in my world, a few days in a place like this is amazing.”
And so José sits down with GQ and give his first interview since he left Stamford Bridge a week before Christmas:
You’re a big fan of London. Why?
“When my kids were younger, we could move a lot, experience different countries and in my case different clubs, different football. But there was a moment where they needed some stability: so we made a decision three years ago to move back to London, and we manage my professional life around that. It’s an amazing place to live, amazing for them to study and search for their future, and for the family to be together.”
So you’re staying in the UK?
“At this moment I don’t have a job, and I don’t know where football will take me, because in football you never know. But for sure for sure for sure, as a family, our home will still be England, our home will be in London. But obviously I am ready to move. As a professional, I am ready to move, especially because football in London for me, in terms of clubs… I think it is clear that I have to move.”
It’s noble that your decision is at least partly down to your family’s needs. What else motivates you?
“I experimented with English, Italian and Spanish football, three of the top football sides in the world. I always say I need competition – I need competition every week. In Spain I was at an amazing club but I had four matches a year – Barcelona v Real Madrid, Real Madrid v Barcelona – and after that you win 4-0, 5-0, 5-1, 6-1…”
So it became too easy?
“Easy to win matches but difficult to win the league, because you are competing against a team that wins and wins and wins like you do, because there are two monsters together. So in the end I was champion in Spain with 100 points, and I lost the league in Spain with 91 points. Whereas in England you win leagues with 75, maybe less, so I need competition.”
Are you enjoying the down time?
“No, I am not enjoying it. I can have everything I love at the same time. I can have my family, I can have my friends, I can have my quiet life, which I also like, and I can have my football… I can have everything together and I don’t need to give up on one of them. To be fully happy I need everything, so I go back to football. I think it’s my natural habitat. I have worked since I can remember, and as a manager since 2000. I stopped when I left Chelsea in 2007, for a few months, and now is the second time I stop in 15 or 16 years, so it is not a drama. But for sure, I will be back soon.”
How do you cope with the pressure?
“Privacy is difficult to have, unless I come here for a holiday. But really, football is not pressure for me – it is a privilege. I cope because it’s easy to cope with something you like very, very much. That is why sometimes I don’t understand when players don’t enjoy their professional life. This is the kind of job were you are very well-paid, but at the same time you live the dreams you had as a kid. I think a 90-minute match is more pressure for the people that love us, the people outside. It’s why I sometimes have some conflicts with people who don’t share the same philosophy. You are in a sport to compete, you want to win, you hate to lose, you win once, so you want to win twice… When you are tired you can go home, and give up your place to someone else.”
What’s more difficult: winning for the first time, or repeating the feat?
“It depends. I always think you need new challenges, but there are different ways of getting new challenges. For example, if you are in a club that wins, if you want to win again you have to create instability in the winners. And to create instability in the winners you have to make them doubt, you have to buy new players, you have to make them feel not in their comfort zone. There is a normal tendency to go to your comfort zone. If you don’t react, if you believe that just because you won in one year that you are going to win again, it’s very difficult.”
Have you learnt everything there is to learn in football?
“Nooooo! I have always to learn. Even in football, which is an area in which I feel I am an expert, I am never perfect and I will always learn. Sometimes in my work, and also in private life, maybe people think I am not humble. But I am so humble, and I am always ready to learn from people who know more than me.”