The former Blues and Red Devils boss has never lost on the first day of a new season and has added to the weight of expectation on his former sides
Jose Mourinho has ensured all eyes will be on his two former teams on the opening day of the Premier League season by reminding them of his formidable record on the first day.
Manchester United host Chelsea on August 11, with the undoubted pick of the fixtures rounding off the weekend as the new campaign kicks into gear.
The spotlight will be on both sides in the early stages of the season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be under pressure to prove his good start to life at Old Trafford wasn’t just a flash in the pan, while Frank Lampard has a third-place finish, two cup finals and a European trophy to live up to after replacing Maurizio Sarri.
Mourinho has won ten and drawn five of his 15 opening-day fixtures, and while it may be tempting to treat the encounter as ‘just another game’, he says building it up like a cup final has been the trick to coming out on top.
“In my case, and this has been maybe why I never lost a first match of the season, I have a huge record of victories and a couple of draws,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“I never think I go to the start of a marathon, I always think I go to the game!”
One of Mourinho’s most memorable fixtures was his first game as a Premier League manager back in 2004.
He had announced himself to the English audience the season before with his Porto side’s famous win over United in the Champions League, and it was Sir Alex Ferguson’s side up first, as the newly-appointed ‘special one’ set about conquering the Premier League.
Eidur Gudjohnsen scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues going on to win six and draw two of their first eight fixtures on the way to claiming a first league title in 50 years.
“I don’t think this has been the first game of 38 or 60 for the season, no,” Mourinho added. “I go to the game!
“And in that moment even more because it was Chelsea vs Manchester United, it was a big game, my first game at home.
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“It was the first time. Stamford Bridge. A few new players, [Ricardo] Carvalho, [Didier] Drogba, [Arjen] Robben, [Petr] Cech – a first game for many of us and we were there to win the game, and we won the game!
“In the season where Arsenal was the king, Arsenal was the champion – and what a champion – and unbeatable, but everybody knew that Chelsea wanted it and United wanted it and everybody knew that was the start of a phenomenal fighting season.”
Though currently out of work, Mourinho has been itching to find a new job and will likely be hoping his latest comments drum up some interest.