Jose Mourinho admits he will not be considered the ‘special one’ if he fails to win any trophies with Manchester United.
The Portuguese, who signed a contract tying him to United until 2020 in May after replacing Louis van Gaal, proclaimed himself the ‘special one’ when he arrived in England for his first stint as Chelsea boss over a decade ago.
Now, speaking ahead of his return to Stamford Bridge as United manager on Sunday, Mourinho concedes that Red Devils fans will not view him as anything out of the ordinary if he is unable to deliver any success to Old Trafford in the next three years.
He told several national newspapers: “Connections start before titles are won but it is success that brings empathy between the supporters and managers and makes that connection become really strong.
“I have a three-year contract here and if I am here for three years the people will know that I have given everything to the club and that I am a professional and dedicated coach who gives himself 24 hours a day to United.
“But if, at the end of the three years, I don’t win a single piece of silverware for them, they will say ‘great guy, good coach, we like him, but we feel nothing special about him’.”
Sunday’s match will be Mourinho’s first trip to Stamford Bridge as manager of another Premier League club.
The 53-year-old’s second spell as Blues manager came to an end in December following a miserable run of form but, having led Chelsea to eight trophies including three Premier League titles, he is understandably proud of what he achieved with the west London outfit.
He is also grateful for the relationship and empathy he had with the club’s supporters, although he insists he is “100 per cent United” now.
He said “Chelsea have won four Premier League titles in their history. Three of them were with me and the other one was won by the team I left behind.
“I took them to Wembley, I took them to Cardiff, I took them to cup finals. So there is a connection based on empathy – but built on success.
“In the end at Chelsea, when the last two or three months of my time at the club were a period of bad results, the fans kept that empathy and remembered our relationship.
“That is something I don’t forget and that is something I will always be grateful to them for because, with me, they have always behaved in a fantastic way. I have loved every club that I have worked for. I have this professional heart that makes me connect 101 per cent with my club.
“When I was growing up in Portugal, I was not a born a Porto supporter – but I still gave my life to Porto. I also gave my life to (Real) Madrid, I gave my life to Inter (Milan) and I gave my life to Chelsea. Now I give my life to United. That is my professional nature. So I am 100 per cent United now.”
United head to London lying seventh in the Premier League table with 14 points from eight games, two places and two points behind Chelsea.
The Red Devils could be without Wayne Rooney for the clash, though, with media reports on Saturday night suggesting the England captain may miss the game after picking up an injury in training.