Jose Mourinho has conceded that he was a “d*ckhead” to his Inter Milan squad during his time with Inter in the 2009-10 season, but that he felt like the club was all part of one big family as he revealed he still speaks to his former driver 10 years after his exit.
Mourinho, now in charge of Tottenham, led the Nerazzurri to their most successful campaign in history, winning the Serie A title, the Coppa Italia and lifting the Champions League.
While the Portuguese manager can look back fondly on that chapter of his life, he admits that he made mistakes at Inter Milan and that it was not always rosy.
“There are relationships: I coach, you play. Empathy depends on the ability to accept me as I am – it’s like a puzzle,” Mourinho told Gazzetta dello Sport.
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“At Inter, there were people waiting for someone like me to complete that puzzle. I’m never fake, I’m original: it’s me and that’s it. I was also a d*ckhead, but that was me.”
Asked to elaborate on his comments, Mourinho pointed to a 3-1 loss in January of 2009, after which he lost his cool and had to apologise to the team.
He said: “Especially after the defeat against Bergamo. I was very violent with the players – I told them they had won the Scudetto of sh*t. It was only afterwards that I understood I had hurt them and I apologised.”
Mourinho once famously claimed that leading a disjointed Manchester United team to second place in the Premier League was the greatest achievement of his career, but he says that he has never felt as comfortable as he did when he was in Milan.
“I was at my best when I felt at home, where I could feel the emotions of the group, where I was 200 per cent invested with my heart,” he said.
“That’s why, on May 22 in Madrid, I was content to experience the happiness of others, all the way from [president Massimo] Moratti to the people working in the warehouse.
“I had already won a Champions League title – I used to always think of myself first and then others. At Inter, it was never like that.
“In a family, when you become a father, you understand that someone is more important than you and that you move into second place.
“Ten years later, we are all together again. Just the other day I spoke to Alessio, my driver from my time at Inter. Where and when does it happen that a coach who leaves, ten years later still talks to the driver? Never. That’s Inter for me. These are my people.”