Whichever side of the fence you’re on, there is no denying that Jose Mourinho will go down in history as one of the world’s best managers.
His career has been filled with countless memorable moments (and quotes), from running down the touchline at Old Trafford as his Porto side knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League to having the confidence to christen himself ‘The Special One’ in his inaugural Chelsea press conference.
One of football’s entertainers, he is now hoping to become the only manager to win the League Cup on five occasions when he takes his Tottenham Hotspur side to Wembley to take on Manchester City in April. As we continue our build-up, here’s a look back at five standout finals that have shaped the career of Portuguese legend.
2004 UEFA Champions League Final - Monaco 0-3 Porto
There is no better place to start than at the beginning, and what a beginning it was for Mourinho. After winning the treble in his first season at Porto, which included the UEFA Cup, Jose’s men went in search of their second Champions League triumph.
After losing only to Real Madrid in the Group Stages of the competition, Porto advanced to the latter stages and, with a difficult draw against Manchester United, no-one could have predicted what was to come.
Francisco Costinha's last-minute equaliser at Old Trafford sent Porto through on aggregate, and a fresh-faced Mourinho danced down the touchline to celebrate with his giant-killers, a moment that would change the course of history.
Porto went on to knock out Lyon and Deportivo La Coruna on their way to the Final against Monaco, where 53,200 people packed into the Arena AufSchalke to see goals from Carlos Alberto, Deco and Dmitri Alenichev wrap up a famous victory for the Dragons.
Although the Final might have been clear cut, the path to glory was not. A new era in world football was only just beginning.
2005 League Cup Final - Liverpool 2-3 Chelsea (AET)
After dubbing himself ‘The Special One’, the pressure was on for Mourinho to deliver from the outset, following his arrival at Stamford Bridge.
That pressure never seemed to bother him, however, and in his first season as Chelsea boss he managed to score the double, as he wrapped up the club’s Premier League trophy with a then-record of 95 points alongside the League Cup. It is that League Cup Final that’s next on our list.
Chelsea’s run to the Final at the Millennium Stadium against Liverpool included two London derbies against West Ham United and Fulham respectively, before they knocked out Manchester United at the Semi-Final stage at Old Trafford, which was seemingly becoming a happy hunting ground for Mourinho.
Jose was heavily linked with the Liverpool job after Gerard Houllier left the club in May of 2004, two days shy of Porto’s Champions League win over Monaco, but the Reds decided that Rafa Benitez was their man.
However, Mourinho would have the last laugh, despite going a goal down early on to a trademark John Arne Riise strike. The Blues forced extra-time as Steven Gerrard headed into his own net 11 minutes from time… cue another of Jose’s famous celebrations.
Goals from Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman in the second half of extra-time would seal his first trophy in English football. He would go onto win the Premier League and League Cup twice, the FA Cup and the Community Shield over two different spells during his illustrious Chelsea career.
2010 UEFA Champions League Final - Bayern Munich 0-2 Inter Milan
It has been 11 years since Mourinho last lifted the Champions League, and the 2010 Final could arguably go down as one of the most complete performances in a final, one remembered for some expert finishing from one of the players of the season, Diego Milito.
After finishing second in their group to Barcelona, Mourinho’s Inter Milan side had to negotiate a difficult knockout route to the Final, though things are never easy when it comes to facing Europe’s elite. But, they overcame Chelsea in the Round of 16 in impressive fashion, heading through before successfully seeing off CSKA Moscow.
Jose made the headlines again by guiding his side through two legs against Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in the Semi-Finals. After recording a 3-1 home victory against the Spaniards, it will be the 1-0 defeat at the Nou Camp that will be remembered… not necessarily for the match action, but for another of Mourinho’s celebrations.
After the final whistle, off he went with a raised finger, an enduring image as Inter booked their place in the Final. There, it would be two wonderful individual pieces of brilliance from Milito either side of half-time that beat Bayern Munich - the Nerazzurri were victorious, picking up a second Champions League trophy in their history.
2011 Copa del Rey Final - Barcelona 0-1 Real Madrid (AET)
Mourinho’s fascinating tactical battles against Guardiola have always been there to see and, luckily, on 25 April, we’ll be treated to another.
Although his time at Real Madrid will not be looked back on as one of his happiest times in club football, Mourinho can boast a further victory against his Spanish counterpart. In his first season at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Real made sure to let their rivals know that they were under new management and ready to compete.
Finishing just four points behind Barcelona in the regular season, Los Blancos managed to deny them a domestic treble by nabbing the Copa del Rey from under their noses in Valencia.
Mourinho’s Madrid had to overcome teams like Atletico Madrid and Sevilla on their way to the Final and, once they got there, Guardiola - on this occasion at least - couldn’t stop them.
Cristiano Ronaldo was a man in red hot form for Madrid, and it was one of his 50 goals in that 2010/11 season that earned Real their 18th Copa del Rey trophy. A stunning cross from Angel Di Maria was met with an equally stunning header by Ronaldo, to seal the win on derby day in Spain.
Although he kept a clean sheet on the night, Sergio Ramos famously dropped a clanger on the open-top bus tour after their win, letting the trophy slip through his grasp, and into the road below.
2017 League Cup Final - Manchester United 3-2 Southampton
Mourinho’s most recent win in this competition came with Manchester United, in what was his first season at Old Trafford. A Community Shield win kicked off a new era for Jose, one which would see him become a treble winner at the end of the campaign.
He led United to Europa League glory after a 2-0 win over Ajax in the Final, the first time the Reds had ever won the competition in their history, and later went on to finish second to noisy neighbours Manchester City in the Premier League, something Mourinho later called ‘one of his greatest achievements’ at the club.
But, it was their League Cup Final victory over Southampton that seemingly helped them kick on and achieve what they did that season. After overcoming City in one of the earlier rounds of the competition, United and Liverpool were the standout favourites to win the competition.
No-one would have predicted, though, that a Southampton masterclass against the Merseyside outfit over two Semi-Final legs would see them book their place at Wembley.
Mourinho’s United side were ready from the start and, with a Zlatan Ibrahimovic free-kick followed up by a strike from Jesse Lingard, it quickly looked like the Cup was heading back up the M6 to Manchester. But the Saints rallied, as Manolo Gabbiadini nicked a crucial goal before half-time before following it up with another, two minutes after the break.
Both teams huffed and puffed, and it was the Reds that blew Southampton’s house down in the closing exchanges of the game. A cross of the highest quality from Ander Herrera found the perfectly-placed Ibrahimovic, who powered his header past the helpless Fraser Forster.
Yet another trophy in the bag for Mourinho… but you can bet he’s not satisfied yet!