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    Jose Mourinho Reflects On Life In The Champions League, Gives Predictions For This Season And Discusses Premier League Clubs' Chances Ahead Of The Competition's Group Stages

    His celebration after a goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford was memorable
    Jose Mourinho has won the Champions League twice — with Porto and Inter Milan — and, as Europe's premier club competition returns on Tuesday, the Manchester United manager sat down with Sportsmail.

    He explains why just three clubs in Europe can even dream of winning consecutive Champions Leagues and takes aim at the Premier League over a 'lack of protection' for English clubs.




    A fresh-faced Mourinho led Porto to victory in Europe's elite competition in 2004

    Take me back to your first Champions League experience with Porto...

    My first match in the Champions League we played against Real Madrid — in Madrid. Real Madrid were in the second group phase that year (2002) and I'd come in January.

    Porto came through the other group with another manager (Octavio Machado) who was sacked. I came into that Champions League in February and I still got the last few matches of that group.

    I was at Uniao de Leiria before Porto. In Leiria I was playing in front of 5,000 and then it is Porto... I play a match in the Portuguese league and then three days later... the Bernabeu (Porto lost 1-0). Quite the change!

    What stands out as your favourite memory?

    The victory with Inter (2-0 over Bayern Munich in 2010), that final.

                  Mourinho lifts the Champions League trophy as his Inter players celebrate behind him

    Why was that more special than the Porto win in 2004?

    Because with Porto it was a team of young people, a team of people with many years in front of them.
    If I didn't win that year then we probably would not have left (the club). After that victory I was leaving — everybody was leaving — but if we did not win that Champions League we would have stayed at Porto a couple more years. And we would have then won it because we were a very good young team.

    How many surprises have there been in the last 10 years? 

    How many? Inter was probably the last surprise, if you can call it that. At the moment there is a circle of powerful clubs and countries.

    Mourinho is not expecting a surprise winner of the Champions League.

    Inter was an old team, a team of people who wanted to do it for their whole career. There had been frustration after frustration.

    That final was the last chance for Materazzi, Toldo, Zanetti, Cordoba, Cambiasso. It was an old team. It was now or never. That really was a crazy journey.

    And the president (Massimo Moratti), he was president for years and years and never, never, never. Also for the fans, because Inter had not been European champion for over 50 years.

    Everything put things into context. It was a dream that everyone was chasing. Probably not me because I won it before. But for all of them... it was a last chance to reach their dream.

    The 53-year-old, a Heineken ambassador, opened up on experience in the Champions League.

           Jose Mourinho sat down for an exclusive chat about the Champions League with Sportsmail

    How would Inter have picked themselves up had you not delivered that trophy then?

    It was just the end of a generation. I think the club would chase and chase and chase until they got it because it was everyone's dream. But for this group that was it.
    The win for Porto acted as a springboard for your managerial career — are there any managers in this year's competition that could surprise us?
    I think it is very difficult to have a surprise in the Champions League. It is very difficult. How many surprises have there been in the last 10 years? How many? Inter was probably the last surprise, if you can call it that.
    At the moment there is a circle of powerful clubs and countries. It is very difficult to have a champion from outside of that circle. It would be a surprise for me if a surprise happened.

             The Portuguese has won two Champions League titles over the course of his career

    Is it possible to win the Premier League and Champions League in the same season?

    Possible? Yes. But it is difficult.

    How did you manage to juggle the two competitions at Chelsea?

    You try to go, to motivate the players. They get themselves motivated by the fact that you are aiming for two trophies. I always say that motivation makes miracles.
    The best thing to fight against the accumulation of matches is happiness. If you are happy because you are winning matches then you don't feel the fatigue during the season so deeply. But in reality, English football is more difficult.

    How feasible is it that English clubs will ever get help with rest days, as in Spain and Germany?

    Well now you have a Friday night fixture, so if an English club is in a Champions League semi-final on a Tuesday I would expect that they would be given the Friday fixture to have one more day to rest. But I don't know because until now nobody has had that protection.
                 An angry Mourinho is pictured on the touchline during his time with Real Madrid


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