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Jose Mourinho: the five worst defeats of the Portuguese manager's career

Jose Mourinho
(Image credit: PA Images)

There are a few managers on the planet with a CV to rival that of Jose Mourinho. Across spells at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United, he has made his name a byword for success. 

But it hasn't all been Champions League medals and open-top bus parades. The Special One has seen plenty of dark times too, especially in his later career. We revisit five of the worst defeats of a glittering career.

1. Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (May, 2005)

Chaos ensued four minutes into the Champions League semi-final second leg between Chelsea and Liverpool. Milan Baros tapped the ball over Petr Cech, Luis Garcia rushed in to finish the chance and the ball was scrambled off the line. It didn't look like it went over - but the referee gave it anyway.

This moment was the deciding moment of the tie, sending the Reds to Istanbul for a famous final. In hindsight, this was the moment that prevented Jose Mourinho from a European victory with Chelsea; his side battered Rafa Benitez's men for 86 more minutes but couldn't quite key the lock.

The "ghost goal" haunted Mourinho for years. This, to him and the Chelsea faithful at least, was an injustice - they were a far better team, who were head and shoulders above Liverpool in the league. They felt robbed of being kings of Europe. 

"I knew [Mourinho] well from Barcelona and he tried to sign me when he went to Porto," Luis Garcia later told FFT, "He’ll always deny my goal. But if I was him I’d do the same."

2. Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid (Nov, 2010)

Jose Mourinho

(Image credit: PA Images)

"This is the first time I have ever been beaten 5-0," lamented a visibly shaken Mourinho after one of the more one-sided clashes in El Clasico history.

Goals from Xavi, Pedro, Jeffren and David Villa's brace contributed to an utter humiliation at the hands of Madrid’s greatest rivals. Lionel Messi ran amok from the right wing, setting up two goals and showcasing his immortal genius from the first whistle. 

Real’s embarrassment was compounded by a red card for (guess who) Sergio Ramos in injury time, the Spain defender having raised a hand to the face of international teammate Carles Puyol. 

This game, more than any other, might have been the turning point in Mourinho’s career. To give him his dues, he’d sent out a very attacking side - including Ronaldo, Benzema, Ozil and Di Maria - and ended up having his fingers burned. Never again would he throw such caution to the wind in big games away from home. A manager who, only months earlier, had won a treble with Inter, was changed forever.

3. Chelsea 2-4 Bradford City (Jan, 2015)

"What happened? Football. Which is beautiful," said Jose Mourinho after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Bradford City, 49 places below them in the footballing pyramid. 

Chelsea were cruising to a title with one hand on the League Cup's three handles; when the Blues went 2-0 up against League One side Bradford at Stamford Bridge, it would have been easy to assume a domestic treble wasn't beyond the realms of possibility.

The Special One's sides had seldom unravelled with such a bewildering free fall as this. Bradford ran riot in the second half, showing more desire and making their possession count. This wasn't a fully second-string Blues side, either: Oscar, Ramires, Azpilicueta and Cahill all started the embarrassing defeat, while Fabregas, Willian and Hazard were sent on to salvage something in vain. 

Mourinho was reportedly very gracious after the hiding, visiting the away dressing room to congratulate them on their giant-killing. The tie has gone down in history as one of the great modern FA Cup shocks: Stamford Bridge was impenetrable in Mourinho's first tenure at Chelsea but this one such result that proved that reputation a thing of the past. 

Leicester 2-1 Chelsea (Dec 2015)

Mourinho began 2015 red-faced in the FA Cup; he ended it looking more tired and glum than he ever had done in English football.

What exactly happened to Chelsea in their bizarre title-defending season in which they finished tenth, perhaps we'll never know the details of. The Blues staggered from one capitulation to the next, as lynchpins withered, Mourinho courted controversy in his treatment of club staff and Eden Hazard looked a shadow of his former self. 

The final straw for Roman Abramovich came at the hands of eventual champions Leicester City, managed by the man whose hotseat the Special One swaggered into when he first arrived in west London. Chelsea were 16th, battling relegation and Mourinho had unceremoniously lost the dressing room. This was his last stand. 

Jose would be sacked in the morning, his love story with the Blues shattered for good. The second coming ended with a whimper, in the end. 

West Ham United 3-1 Manchester United (Sep, 2018)

Jose Mourinho

(Image credit: PA Images)

Manchester United fans were used to Mourinho publicly humiliating players by his final half season at the club. During his reign, he’d labelled Rashford “a desperate kid”, claimed he could “kick just as well” as David De Gea and said Luke Shaw played with “his body but my brain” in a draw with Everton in 2016. 

Ahead of this clash, a midweek training bust-up with Paul Pogba had gone viral on social media and Mourinho was growing more poisonous by the day, evidently irate with the board for not backing him more in the transfer market. 

West Ham United went two up by half-time and Rashford’s second-half strike was cancelled out immediately by Marco Arnautavic as Manuel Pellegrini's side sealed a 3-1 win. A third defeat in seven contributed to United’s worst start to a season for 29 years, and Mourinho would be sacked 10 Premier League games later. 

"For how many months people are asking for Martial and Alexis Sanchez is not playing well enough so this week it was time for me to agree so I picked Martial and left Alexis out." The Frenchman had been subbed-off in the second half and this was Mourinho’s way of throwing a regular whipping boy back under the bus. 

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