The Portuguese coach has lost just one showpiece in his entire career – a 2-1 defeat to Benfica in the Taca de Portugal back in 2003-04 – yet another bad omen for Atletico…
By Ben Hayward | Spanish Football Writer
The above image is unlikely to be repeated on Friday night. Jose Mourinho’s rocky relationship with his players this term means he will probably celebrate in more subdued style should Real Madrid beat Atletico in the final of the Copa del Rey. But a look at his remarkable record in finals suggests he will be celebrating, one way or another.
History may mean little as the two teams from the Spanish capital meet on Friday at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the omens are far from positive for Atletico. The Rojiblancos‘ record against Real is dire, with no wins in their derby date since 1999 and eight losses (out of eight) in the fixture versus Mourinho’s Madrid. On top of all that, they face a coach with a 90 per cent success rate in showpiece soirees such as this one.
(Not including Super Cup clashes, of which he has missed out on three), Mourinho has lost just one final in his entire coaching career and that came way back in 2004 when his Porto side were edged out in extra time by Benfica in the Taca de Portugal. Just 10 days later, however, he was lifting the Champions League. That was the special one, not the cup – but finals are finals and Mourinho wants to win them all. He hasn’t lost one since.
|MOURINHO’S FANTASTIC FINAL RECORD
Before the defeat to Jose Antonio Camacho’s Benfica, Mourinho had already claimed one Taca de Portugal the previous season, along with a Uefa Cup success by beating Celtic in 2002-03. And since the loss to the Lisbon side on May 16, 2004, he has won seven successive showpiece games.
After winning the Champions League with Porto, Mourinho’s first title with Chelsea was the League Cup, claimed after beating Liverpool in extra time in 2004-05. Another League Cup followed in 2006-07 with victory over Arsenal in another tight affair in late February, before the Portuguese completed a cup double by beating Manchester United by a single strike in a close-fought encounter. In those three finals, Mourinho’s Chelsea had got the better of the other three strongest sides in England at the time. Quite a feat.
And at Inter, there was more final fanfare: Mourinho’s men edged out Roma 1-0 to claim the Coppa Italia in 2009-10 and followed up with another Champions League crown that same season, beating Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu to complete an historic treble in what was effectively his Real Madrid job interview.
Three times Mourinho has sat on the cusp of another showpiece occasion in Europe’s premier club competition since then, but he has seen his Madrid side beaten in the last four in each of his seasons in Spain.
At Madrid, his side have played in two Spanish Supercopas (losing one, winning the other), but have only appeared in one final: against Barcelona in the 2011 Copa del Rey.
Back then, Pep Guardiola’s team were arguably at their peak. The Catalans ended the season with La Liga and the Champions League, but were denied a repeat of their 2008-09 treble by Mourinho’s Madrid at Mestalla as the capital club triumphed thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s extra time header.
On Friday, the Portuguese will hope to produce a repeat performance as he looks to conclude his Real reign with a fourth trophy. “Mourinho knows exactly how to play in finals,” former Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano said in 2011, prior to his Bernabeu exit. “He knows exactly what to transmit to his players and that is a very important first step.”
A day later, Madrid had their first Copa del Rey for 19 years. On Friday night, Mourinho will hope to claim what could well be his last. And there’s a nine-out-of-10 chance he’ll do it.
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