Jose Mourinho

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Mourinho: Lampard has ‘all the conditions to succeed’ at Chelsea

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Jose Mourinho as a pundit has turned out to be a very interesting thing.

Happy to stoke the fires of controversy as a manager, Mourinho has largely brought a measured, thoughtful approach to his commentator’s seat. He’s also been fairly funny, like his quip about Man City’s B Team as a candidate to win the league.

[ MORE: Poch’s message to wantaway stars ]

A big part of this is Mourinho’s lack of bias, which is perhaps the most surprising part of it all given his readiness to take digs at old rivals like Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez during his time as a Premier League manager.

Consider Frank Lampard. Mourinho was not shy about the Chelsea manager’s mistakes against Manchester United, but not because it was his former job or a desire for headlines. Mourinho just didn’t like the Chelsea man’s job that day (and Lampard didn’t particularly enjoy the criticism).

This weekend, however, sees Mourinho backing Lampard on the whole, and “The Special One” thinks Chelsea’s current boss will be able to use the composition he usually displayed as a player to grow as a boss.

“He plays for big things,” Mourinho said. “He plays Champions League, he played a European Super Cup, he had already big matches in his hands, and he has to grow up with the level of experiences, which I believe he can because he has huge experience.”

“I cannot separate from the fact that football has been always in his life. He was born son of a player, he grew up [nephew] of a football manager, he became a player, he became a top player… I think he has all the conditions to succeed.”

Chelsea faces Wolves in a very challenging match at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live online on NBC Sports Gold).

Lampard baffled by Mourinho’s criticism

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Frank Lampard’s first Premier League game as a manager didn’t go as planned as his Chelsea side were hammered 4-0 at Manchester United.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform on debut? ]

The result was a head scratcher and the scoreline flattered United, but the nature of Chelsea’s second half capitulation has left Lampard and his youngsters open to criticism.

Jose Mourinho, Lampard’s former boss at Chelsea, was making his punditry debut for Sky Sports on Sunday and questioned Mount and Abraham starting.

“He didn’t like the performance of Mason Mount? Is that what he said? Did he? wow,” Lampard said. “Well, I can’t drag players out of the medical room to play if they are experienced or not, so these are the players that played in a game that we were clearly the better team for 45-60 minutes.

“What was evident that we made individual errors that led to four goals out of their five shots. So there’s the harsh reality for us. I don’t have to be too concerned about what anyone else says, pundit-wise or anyone, they have to speak. At the same time, what’s clear is the squad is what we’ve got and I believe in it.”

[ MORE: 3 things we learned

Mount did play well in the first half and Abraham hit the post with a thunderous effort early on.

Mourinho’s comments were more about Lampard playing too many inexperienced players at the same time rather than having Willian, N’Golo Kante or Olivier Giroud on from the start.

Lampard is missing several first team stars due to injury with Antonio Rudiger, Kante and Willian not fully fit. The transfer ban will buy him a little extra time and the Chelsea fans at Old Trafford were certainly on the side of their all-time record goalscorer despite the heavy loss.

The harsh reality of the situation is that if Chelsea lose to Liverpool in the Super Cup final this Wednesday, more criticism will come Lampard’s way. He knows that. And he handled the question about Mourinho’s comments pretty well. Another six months of questions if his team are struggling may seem the second-year coach become a little less diplomatic.

Jose Mourinho joins Sky Sports as a pundit

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Jose Mourinho is back in the Premier League.

Not as a manager, but as a pundit.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

Our partners at Sky Sports in the UK have signed up three-time Premier League winner Mourinho, 56, to be an analyst for them this season.

Mourinho’s debut for Sky will be at Old Trafford on Sunday, as his two former teams Manchester United and Chelsea (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) clash.

“The Premier League is a special competition for me, one that takes so much hard work to win and you just can’t take your eyes off the matches every week,” Mourinho said. “Sky Sports is the home of the Premier League and it’s a pleasure for me to join this team and help to understand and explain what happened in each match. Football is a huge passion, it means so much to the fans, and I look forward to being part of the Premier League with them until I return to my place on the touchline.”

Mourinho has stated on numerous occasions since he was fired by United last December that he wants to spend time working with the media to understand how he is perceived by them. The man who won the Champions League title with FC Porto and Inter Milan has been a serial winner throughout his career and always has something interesting to say.

After a stint with BeIN Sports, the self-professed “Special One” will now be on Sky Sports for the upcoming season.

No matter what you think about Mourinho, this should be box office.

Mourinho wants to work for ‘Mourinhistas’

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Jose Mourinho has been a little quiet over the summer.

Don’t worry, he’s just been taking a little time off to take stock of his career after being fired by Manchester United in December.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports NewsMourinho has been relaxing in his hometown of Setubal in Portugal.

After some time as a pundit as he “learned what goes on on the other side of the camera” Mourinho says he is now ready to return to coaching. And he’s back with a bang.

“This is basically the first time I have time to think, the first time I am in Setubal at the end of July or beginning of August in more than 20 years,” Mourinho said. “I have some time to think, to rethink, to analyze and what I feel is exactly that ‘Ze’ (Mourinho’s nickname as a boy) is full of fire!

“My friends tell me ‘enjoy your time, enjoy your July, enjoy your August, enjoy what you never had’. Honestly, I can’t enjoy. I am not happy enough to enjoy. I miss my football, I have the fire, I have a compromise with myself, with people that love me, with so many fans that I have around the world, so many people that I inspired.”

“Ze has to be Ze and Ze until the last day, but I don’t see the last day because my next move will be like the start! I don’t feel it’s just one more year in accumulation of how many years I’ve worked, how many titles I’ve won. That is history, that is the museum. My future will start in my next move and, as I was saying, it looks a little bit ridiculous with so many beautiful things around me and so many things I didn’t [have] for so many years, but I can’t really enjoy my free time.”

Mourinho speaking about himself in the third person is pretty epic, and the fact he can’t relax in his picturesque surroundings says it all. He’s a football man, through and through. Whatever you think about Mourinho, he simply belongs in the game. That’s just the way it is.

A break will have, hopefully, done him good. That old fire he had needed to return because the grumpy, disinterested Mourinho we saw at United wasn’t the one we’d grown up to love and/or hate, but still admire.

Having a rejuvenated Mourinho in the game isn’t a bad thing at all, but it will be interesting to see where he ends up next.

As Real Madrid continue to struggle in preseason under Zinedine Zidane, maybe he is just waiting in the wings to have a second crack at being the king of the Santiago Bernabeu. He says he has turned down plenty of jobs since leaving United in order to focus on getting the correct position, and whether that pops up or not remains to be seen.

Offers from China and Portugal have come in, but Mourinho wants to work for a club that adores him.

“Why do I say ‘no’? I say ‘no’ because it’s not [at] the level of challenge that I want. But, with all respect to the possibilities I have had and the clubs involved, I want the right to choose the people who are ‘Mourinhista’ – like people say in Portugal, Spain and Italy – ‘Mourinhista’ is someone who is a fan,” Mourinho explained.

“The ‘Mourinhistas’ want me where I belong, so, for me now, it’s not a question of [saying], ‘okay I have this offer and I’m going to take it’. I have to be patient and wait for the right opportunity and the right opportunity is one that is at the same size and the same level that I am as a manager.”

The fire seems to be well and truly back inside Mourinho. Line up to make your offers. Mourinhistas…

Jose Mourinho to manage USMNT?

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Picture this.

From the Azteca Stadium dugout Jose Mourinho has just launched a water bottle into the home crowd in delight amid a cacophony of jeers after Christian Pulisic‘s last-gasp winner against Mexico sealed qualification to the 2022 World Cup for the U.S. men’s national team.

Now you can wake up. But maybe not…

Mourinho has been speaking to Eleven Sports about his future and said he fancies switching things up a little and becoming a national team manager, and not just for his beloved Portugal.

“I want to compete in new competitions,” Mourinho said. “I think about the World Cup and the European Championships. For a long time I have had the desire to try out such an adventure. Right now, I see myself more at a national team than with a new club. Is Portugal the right team for me? Not necessarily.”

Wow. Okay.

Mourinho’s Portugal have Fernando Santos in charge and he has led them to both the EURO 2016 title and now the UEFA Nations League trophy. So, unless he wants to leave his role, he can pretty much remain in charge of the Portuguese national team for the next few tournaments.

Before we get on to where Mourinho could end up internationally, here’s what he had to say about his future aside from a national team setup.

“Winning a fifth championship in a different country or the Champions League with a third club are things I’d like to do,” Mourinho added. “I wouldn’t do it just for that. I only go where a project convinces me. I want to be happy, not necessarily win, I want to be happy and I don’t want to accept a proposal without being convinced of it, that’s what I’ve always thought. That’s why if [a club] told me ‘today there are no conditions to win, but we want you to create the conditions to win’, then I would evaluate it.”

There have been various rumors about Mourinho heading to clubs like Newcastle and Everton in the Premier League after his time in charge at Manchester United ended last December in dire circumstances, less than three seasons after he took over. It is unlikely he will take a gig outside of Europe’s elite clubs, and many national team jobs appear out of reach for him right now with England, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal all set with their managers

His combustible nature means that club jobs aren’t lasting over three years for Jose right now, so maybe the international arena is the best place for Mourinho for the rest of his career.

He will have less time around players, more time to work on scouting and less day-to-day dealings with the media. Surely these are all good things for Mourinho.

Is the USMNT a serious option? First up, U.S. Soccer would have to considerably push the boat out, financially, to hire him. Secondly, they’ve just hired a coach in Gregg Berhalter with a long-term vision even if things haven’t got off to a great start. And last but not least, would Mourinho want to manage the U.S. men’s national team?

He’s spoken about how he enjoys preseason trips each year to California and how he wants to work in Major League Soccer one day, so there is an interest in working in the USA there.

From U.S. Soccer’s perspective, if Berhalter’s young group fail miserably this summer at the Gold Cup amid a wave of negativity surrounding the team, would it be worth handing the keys over to Jose for a few years to increase interest levels if nothing else?

Not only would his huge global appeal make the USMNT relevant again across the world, his coaching style actually lines up pretty well with what the U.S. have within their pool of players. He can set teams up to defend solidly and hit opponents on the counter or channel attacks through a special playmaker like Pulisic. And, let’s be honest, the USMNT are trying to be something they’re not right now.

Mourinho to the USMNT will probably never happen, but think about it. Mourinho would get the job he wants next, the USMNT would get huge interest levels from across the globe and we would get to see Mourinho in CONCACAF qualifying which he seems ready-made for.

I’m just saying, it all kind of makes sense…