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Can Cooper cop Mourinho magic?

24 September 2013

Swindon manager Mark Cooper prepares to pit his wits against Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho on a big Capital One Cup night for the Robins

Swindon Town manager Mark Cooper is looking forward to a post-match chat and a glass of wine with Jose Mourinho after pitting his wits against the Blues boss in Tuesday evening’s Capital One Cup Third Round tie at the County Ground.

But fine wine aficionado Mourinho may be surprised at the tipple he is presented with. “I’ve got some supermarket special waiting,” joked Cooper as he talked to about what will be the biggest game of his managerial life.

“I just hope I can get five minutes after the match to pick his brain,” added Cooper. “He’s a manager who’s achieved so much and I’ve got great respect and admiration for him. If any of his magic rubs off on me I’ll be delighted.”

Former Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid manager Mourinho has won the Champions League twice, the Europa League and 16 domestic League and Cup titles – including the League Cup twice with Chelsea.

Meanwhile, 44-year-old Cooper, whose management career before taking over at Swindon in July was entirely at non-league level apart from a brief stint with Peterborough United, has only an FA Trophy success to his name.

But the Robins boss is nevertheless planning for some of that Mourinho magic to land in his technical area as his modestly financed Sky Bet League 1 team look to produce a major shock against the mega-rich Premier League giants.

“We’re a mainly young team after all the changes we made during the close season,” noted Cooper, “17 players went out and 16 came in, but despite that big turnaround they’ve gelled well and it’s coming together nicely for us.

“We play decent, entertaining football and the players will want to showcase that on a big cup night in front of a sell-out crowd. It’s a massive test for the boys, but they won’t be fazed by the task of facing Chelsea and they’ll play with no fear.”

Cooper’s side had the perfect build-up to the Capital One Cup tie, beating local rivals Bristol City 3-2 on Saturday to give them 11 points from eight League 1 games as they look to produce a repeat of last season’s run to the Play-Offs.    

“It was proper local derby,” said Cooper, who was previous manager Kevin MacDonald’s assistant last term. “It was end-to-end stuff, and although we didn’t play as well as we have done recently we came through to get the three points.

“It’s obviously going to be a different type of occasion against Chelsea, but we’ll be going out to show what we’re all about. We won’t stick 10 players behind the ball, we’ll play in our usual footballing style and look to attack.”

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