Jose Mourinho does not care what kind of reception he receives from Chelsea fans when he returns as Man Utd boss on Sunday.
The 53-year-old returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time as manager of another Premier League club when he takes Manchester United to his former stomping ground.
Mourinho is the most successful manager in Chelsea’s history having won three Premier League titles across two spells, the last of which ended in December following a miserable run of form.
The Portuguese has said he does not expect a negative reaction from supporters who continued to back him last season despite Chelsea’s on-pitch struggles.
But Mourinho, who faced Chelsea while he was in charge of Inter Milan in the Champions League in 2010, will not concern himself with such matters and will try to treat the game the same as any other.
He said: “To say I care is not true. I am more focused on the game. I try to prepare myself for the match, so I cannot say that I care.
“What can I expect? I don’t know. They can think about me and remember our great relation and have a good reaction. They can look at me and say for 90 minutes he is Man Utd manager and he is playing against us, so he is not someone we like at this moment.
“I did my job (at Chelsea). They gave me their love and they gave me their support. That is the most important thing. If now I go there as Man Utd manager and they decide to have a different approach, I will always respect them.
“I played there with Inter. I tried to do my job. If you ask me, if my team score a goal, am I going to celebrate like a crazy kid? No. I think I can control the emotion of that situation.
“Am I going to have a negative reaction if the crowd has something negative with me? No. I have the maturity enough to control the emotion.
“I have lots of respect. What Man Utd fans can expect from me is more important. What Man Utd fans can expect from me is to play against Chelsea the same way I play against Fenerbahce, Liverpool, anyone, because that is my job.”
Mourinho’s second departure from Chelsea was billed as mutual consent but he now admits he was sacked.
There are no hard feelings, though, and Mourinho is looking forward to seeing some of the lifelong friends he made at the club.
Owner Roman Abramovich is not among them, with Mourinho revealing: “He was never my friend. We always had the relationship of owner-manager. Very respectful relationship. We were never friends. We were never close to each other.
“When some managers leave clubs, they like to, I don’t know the right saying, but in Portuguese it is ‘wash the dirty clothes’. Go back and speak and speak and speak.
“I leave clubs with a very good feeling, the feeling of doing everything to succeed. I gave everything to the club. I don’t like to go back and speak specially about the bad things.
“I want to keep the good things – and at Chelsea I had so many good things, in terms of results, friends I have for life, an amazing empathy with the supporters. The supporters didn’t change their relationship with me because of last season and a couple of months of bad results.”
Champions in 2014-15, Chelsea’s start to last season was shocking, the Blues losing nine of their first 16 Premier League games while Mourinho’s position was also undermined by an unseemly dispute with former club doctor Eva Carneiro.
Mourinho does not feel it has affected him, saying: “That period came in a part of my career when I was already a grown man. I was not a kid.
“I was lucky to have a big club like Man Utd, who focused on my career and not my last three months. I was lucky enough to have the chance to stay in the competition I most love and to stay in a big club like Man Utd, with a big project, with a big challenge like I have in my hands. Everything is positive.”