Immediate former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has opened up on first encounters with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson.
Mourinho was speaking on when he first rubbed shoulders with Ferguson and Wenger back in 2004 after taking over the Chelsea job. Mourinho joined Chelsea after masterminding FC Porto to an unlikely UEFA Champions League crown and replaced Claudio Ranieri at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking in an interview, Mourinho opened up on his first encounters with Wenger and Ferguson, “I arrived in England and I found the Invincibles and I found Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson very much hurt by that season. We were like a third force coming with Chelsea having a great desire to be champion for the first time in many years. So, of course, it was the confrontation of forces and you can imagine that Sir Alex, Mr Wenger and myself we were fighting for the same.
“We were sweet enemies. In that moment it is hard. In that moment it is a real fight. But then in the end, I always thank my ‘sweet rivals’ for making me better. Everything started in 2004. I arrived with the ambition to win and waiting for me were two of the biggest managers in football history that wanted to try and stop me doing it.
But in the end there is a huge respect and I think after that we had great opportunities to sit together and have lunch and meetings and to show each other that we respect each other.”