MOURINHO RELISHING THE BIG STAGE
The first away game of the season and Jose Mourinho's next visit to Old Trafford draws near, and it has the Chelsea manager looking back on previous games against Manchester United.
His current side heads north with a 100 per cent record from the two games so far and Mourinho's past record against the Old Trafford outfit stands comparison with any. He has faced them with all four of his most recent clubs.
'I've lost, I've won, I drew,' Mourinho recalls.
'I knocked them out in the Champions League, I was knocked out by them in the Champions League. I have every result against them. Maybe I have won more than lost, but what playing Man United gives me is pleasure, I like it.
'Last year when Real Madrid were playing the Champions League knockout phase and everybody was in Madrid with some tension because at that early stage we have to play Man United, I was happy. I like the stadium, I like the opponent and I like the difficulty of the game.'
Real won over the two legs last season but it was the first encounter with Man United and Alex Ferguson that Mourinho chooses when asked to pick his highlight.
'It has to be the Champions League with Porto because we were a very good team coming to the competition for the first time, all of us, and there was a last-minute goal, so it was one to remember.'
There is just over a week to go in the transfer window and Mourinho states that Chelsea will sign a maximum of two players during it. Looking generally, he does not understand why players are sold between the big clubs in England less frequently than in other countries, and Italy especially where such moves have long been the case.
'It is a difficult decision [to sell a player who wants to leave],' he says.
'You can feel that the player's personality is something you can control and turn around and settle down so he gives you the maximum of performance, but that old-fashioned mentality of you don't sell a player in the same country I think doesn't help the market and it doesn't help the players.
'Sometimes you push the players to play abroad when you should be interested in keeping the players in your league because you are contributing to making your league the best.'
Mourinho would be prepared to sell one of his best players to a rival if he thought the decision was right but is keen to point out that every case is an individual one.
'There is not a rule for a player who is unhappy. We had Arjen Robben unhappy and we sold him to Real Madrid because he wanted so much to go to Real Madrid. We had William Gallas unhappy and we sold him to Arsenal. Other times for sure we have kept players.
'I was so sad about William Gallas. He was fundamental for us when we won the two Premierships and he wanted to go and we decided not to stop him.
'It was not an economic problem for the club, just the will of the player to go. Carvalho and Terry were playing central defender all the time and he wanted to be a first choice all the time. He was playing many matches in a position that was not his best, he was playing left-back and sometimes Wayne Bridge was playing there was so he was not so happy, so we thought it was a fair situation to sell him in the end.'