Jose Mourinho will open his Champions League campaign this Wednesday against Young Boys. The Portuguese manager may have got some confidence back with victories against Burnley and Watford after a poor start to the season. However, his recent European record is a concern for Manchester United who has not fared well since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
The scar must be fresh for Mourinho when last season his team went out of the Champions League in a humiliating manner against Sevilla. Mourinho’s side had the perfect opportunity to proceed in the competition by beating Sevilla at Old Trafford after earning a draw in the first leg. Though unfortunately for Mourinho, the La Liga club came on top and won the second leg by 2-1.
Like Mourinho, Manchester United also have not fared well in Europe’s elite club competition. The Red Devils have managed to progress only once to the quarter-final stage of the competition since 2011 when they made it to the finals against Barcelona. The decline of the club after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement is quite shocking for United fans who were used to far better performances during the legendary manager’s 26 years’ reign. Sir Alex Ferguson’s later years saw Manchester United make it to the Champions League finals three times out of four seasons.
Jose Mourinho was once quite a force in the Champions League; he won the prestigious title with FC Porto in 2004 and then with Internazionale in 2010. Now it’s been more than 5 years since the Portuguese manager has won in the knockout stages of the Champions League. His last victory in the knockout stages came against his current club Manchester United back in 2013 when he was at Real Madrid.
During the early 2000s, he changed the fortunes of the Portuguese club FC Porto by winning them the Champions League title. He was an immediate success at Chelsea where he won two Premier League titles in just his first 2 years. However, his domestic successes did not translate into Champions League glory. His team was twice knocked out by Liverpool in the 2005 and 2007 semi-finals of the Champions League.
While at Internazionale, he managed to win the coveted European title in 2010 after his first attempt ended at the Round of 16. He bested the might of Chelsea, Barcelona and then Bayern Munich in the 2010 Champions League final to perform this feat.
That’s why at Real Madrid, he was in a perfect position to add more titles to his CV. However, his three serious attempts could not get the desired results for the manager. He first lost to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2011, then in 2012, he could not overcome Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern Munich. Even his third endeavor failed when he lost against Borussia Dortmund in 2013.
Returning to Chelsea could not restore Mourinho’s winning form in the Champions League as he went out of the semi-finals for the 4th successive year. A year later, his side could only make it to the round of 16.
Now with Manchester United, he is making one more effort for the Champions League title. He will start the campaign against Young Boys with the previous Sevilla defeat fresh in his mind.