(Interview with José Mourinho in national daily Correio da Manhã (23/09/06)
Correio Sport – How do you deal with your professional success? How do you cope with being famous and walking down the street, or managing the team?
José Mourinho – Managing success has a lot to do, I believe, with upbringing and the levels of self-confidence that we develop. Upbringing because this pushes us, or not, towards emotional stability and levels of self-confidence, because if they're high, they allow us to be resistant to the obvious pressure there is on anyone who has a successful career and, naturally, on those, like us coaches and players, who have great expectations resting on their shoulders.
– But there are mechanisms that that we develop to manage success, like failure perhaps ...
– That's right. And I can say that I also think managing success is not very different from managing failure. Family stability, the closed circle that isolates us a little from the outside world and recreates our own world. It's a mechanism that creates very strong emotional conditions and stabilises us and strengthens us to face the pressure of being who we are, of being seen as icons of success. And, at the same time, when a negative moment pressurises us in a different way, this same circle hugs us and makes us immune to criticism and negative pressure. Just a few days ago I was saying to a player of mine that neither a failure nor an icon of success has an easy life. Deep down, it's those who survive in the middle ground that have an easy life. Managing success well is managing your career. It's mentally dominating society, a society that loves us and wants us to have permanent success and pushes us towards it, but it's also a society that envies us and is waiting, hungrily sometimes, for our failure.
– This year, with the contracting of extremely expensive players like Ballack and Shevchenko, and with the papers saying that Roman Abramovich wants to win the Champions League at all costs, and that the English title is not enough now, is the pressure even greater?
– Only those I want to put pressure on me do, and the pressure I put on myself is already enough, so I can't accept that others put even more pressure on me. Today I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I'm past that. I live calmly, I'm happy in my work, or vice-versa. Besides, I don't know how they talk about what Roman Abramovich wants or doesn't want for Chelsea this season, when he's never spoken and doesn't speak to the press. He's never given an interview.
– But how do you personally deal with success?
– I deal with it calmly, because success has always been a part of my professional life. And that success didn't fall out of the sky – it was a result of a long process, training and a lot of study. It's been stable – it hasn't disappeared suddenly – it's a part of my life. As are also, naturally, certain failures, which are a logical consequence of the world I work in. And if after winning four championships in a row I lose one, the calmness I feel will be exactly the same. In football there are no supermen, I don't think – only men who win more often than others.
– in the case of the players, and bearing in mind the educational training that you said is necessary to deal with success, do you advise them to have a stable family and acquire culture?
– Of course. I advise the players to get culture and to surround themselves with people who don't idolise them. I advise their families and friends to not let them lose touch with the real world out there, and to realise that they're men like any others. We should get in the queue when we want to go to the bank, we should pay fines if we commit a traffic violation, we should wait our turn in restaurants like the others. The others are always fundamental in our perception of the real world.
– The advertisements you've done for various prestige products in media around the world, has that made you an icon of success?
– No – the advertisements that I've done don't make me an icon of anything. Would Samsung, American Express or BPI [a Portuguese bank] pay through the nose if I was a loser?
– Have you got an image consultant?
– I don't have an image consultant – not for public things, and not for professional or private things.
– Do you still prepare your press conferences, or does everything just come out by intuition?
– It's intuition, of course! Even if I try to reduce the unpredictability, a press conference always has aspects that aren't predictable. Besides, the best image consultant I have is my conscience, my real me - direct, objective – where in any circumstance the club and the group prevail over my personal interests. But during the season, I prepare myself, obviously, depending on what key message I want to transmit and on the coming game.
– Who do you speak to at Chelsea? Only with Peter Kenyon, or do you go directly to Roman Abramovich when you have serious problems?
– Peter Kenyon is who works with me every day on everything to do with the team. I only work with Roman Abramovich on some more crucial management aspects. For example, when it's to do with the transfer of one of the more important players.
– Bruce Buck, one of Chelsea's directors, said in an interview that listening to you talk about football was a marvel, that you prepare a game like a general prepares the troops for battle. Do you feel like a general before a battle, or rather a manager of human resources?
– I just feel like a coach and a coach has to be a leader, he has to be a manager, he has to be a communicator, he has to be a motivator, he has to be so many things that I can't even define it in concrete terms. It's a very complex profession.
– With your success in Portuguese and international football, you've made a lot, a lot of money. What do you do with it all – do you spend it, save it or invest it?
– I do all three things. I spend on quality of life at all levels for my family. I also save a part and I invest some in real estate because I don't think of this profession as being parallel to another activity, like, for example, playing the stock market, which could distract me from my day-to-day work. That's fundamental for me – being able to dedicate myself to my work 100%, without having to think about other problems.
– you normally like players who are hungry for success, who come from smaller clubs, but this season Chelsea contracted Michael Ballack and Shevchenko, two footballers who are established in World football, who have won everything at club level. Is it different handling stars?
– Michael [Ballack] and Andriy [Shevchenko] are serious and ambitious professionals with their prestige to defend. They add value to the team on a footballing level, but also on a human level. My relationship with both is strong, and there aren't any problems, fortunately. I'm only not happier because I needed to be able to help tem more in training, and we haven't had the time to train and help them improve more. And that's also why, and I recognise this, we haven't put in 90 completely good minutes yet this season. The pre-season was terrible because we had almost no time to train and we only played two friendlies before we were into competitive games. But we like Ballack and Shevchenko a lot and we're very happy that they're here with us – to help us to win more trophies.
– Results this season haven't been as spectacular as in recent times ...
– I'm satisfied, myself. In the Champions League we won a game against Werder Bremen, who are also in the running for qualification, and in the championship we have 12 points from five games, and I'm happy with that tally. I'm pleased because we've already played at Middlesbrough, where we always lose, and at Blackburn, who are always very difficult. And we've also played three games at home, that's true, but one of them was against a direct rival – Liverpool – and we won. I'm happy – I can't ask any more after the very bad pre-season we had, without a lot of our players who arrived late after playing in the World Cup.
– Success for Chelsea this season would be what?
– As I said before – winning a big competition – the Champions League or the English title.
– You've said that you prefer to win 2-0 to 1-0, but you also prefer 2-0 to 6-5. Isn't a 6-5 result more spectacular?
– I prefer to win 2-0 to 6-5 because 2-0 reflects organisation and effectiveness at all levels of the game, whereas 6-5 reflects talent, perhaps, but it also certainly reflects disorganisation in a vital aspect of the games, which is defence. For me, the game has to be balanced.
– Why did you stop writing in the newspapers?
– This year I'm not going to write and that was decided with all the group, because that's how we do things. The thing is, here in England, as you know, there were newspapers that asked players to do that, and then there was all sorts of trouble. So we decided that no one could write for newspapers, to do away with the problem. And I'm not writing either, of course.