Sir Alex Ferguson says Jose Mourinho is capable of replacing him at Old Trafford
Sir Alex Ferguson says Jose Mourinho is capable of replacing him at Manchester United.
Last Updated: 03/12/12 10:09am
Ferguson stopped short of saying Mourinho should replace him when he finally retires, but he believes the Portuguese has the qualities that would be needed to take over the Old Trafford hotseat.
Ferguson told ITV4: "He can manage anywhere, absolutely. I'm not going to put any forecasts on what is going to happen at this club. I won't last forever, but Jose can manage anywhere, there is no question about that."
Mourinho had little success as a player but as a coach he has already won 21 trophies from 10 years in the dugout.
"I would never think a guy who hasn't played a game could be a top coach, but then you've got to look at his personality, I think his personality does it," Ferguson added.
"He's got a marvellous, strong personality and I think that bridges that gap.
"That's incredible (his trophy haul). How old is he now? Fiftieth year. So he is 20 years behind me. At the same rate he is going to add another 42 trophies. At the current rate, (that is) amazing isn't it?"
When he arrived at Chelsea Mourinho caused a media storm when he referred to himself as a 'Special One', a nickname which has stuck with him.
"I remember his first press conference (at Chelsea) and I thought 'he's cocky, him'," Ferguson said.
"He was telling the players, 'Look, I'm the Special One, we don't lose games'...coming to England, he is only a young man and saying he is the Special One!
"But what it did, it told all the players to have the belief they were going to win the league."
Mourinho himself has made no secret of his desire to return to England - speculation as to where has raged ever since he left Chelsea in 2007 - and he told the programme he would like to win the Champions League with an English club.
With his Madrid side still in this year's competition and having won it already at Porto and Inter, Mourinho said: "In my whole career everything was perfect, the only thing I didn't do, and I hope I can do it one day, is to win a Champions League with an English club."
According to the man many view as a 'mini Mourinho', though, a greater motivation burns for his old mentor.
Until he joined Tottenham in the summer, Andre Villas-Boas' career had mirrored Mourinho's, taking in Porto and Chelsea, although he lasted significantly less time at Stamford Bridge.
But he knows Mourinho well having scouted for him at Chelsea and Inter, and believes the chance to manage his country will one day tempt his old boss.
"Here was a person coming out of a completely different education. He changed the way people trained. Changed the way people spoke about the game, he said.
"I have to say at this moment, if I am sitting here it is because Jose changed the legacy of Portuguese football.
"I think he will be extremely driven to win the World Cup for his country. And when that happens, when statistically he's the best manager that has ever been then I think he will finally leave the game."