The former Blues boss returns to Stamford Bridge with Manchester United on Sunday but he insists that he will put his reception by his old team’s fans out of his mind.
Jose Mourinho says that the special memories that he has of his time at Chelsea will not stop him doing his job on Sunday, when he takes his Manchester United side to Stamford Bridge for the first time.
Mourinho is the London club’s most successful manager of all time, winning three Premier League titles over two spells in charge, and retains a good relationship with the Chelsea fans.
But while he admits that he is unsure what kind of reception he will get from the Blues’ faithful, his main concern is to get the job done for United.
“To say I care is not true because, to be honest, when I go to a football match, I do not focus on that. I focus on the game, I try to prepare myself for matches, so I cannot say that I care,” he told reporters.
“What can I expect? I don’t know. They can think about me and remember our great relationship and have a good reaction. They can look at me and say ‘for 90 minutes he is Man Utd manager and he’s playing against us so he is not somebody we like in this moment’.”
Mourinho, who was sacked by Chelsea in December 2015 after a calamitous start to the season which left the club hovering above the relegation places, insists that he will not be drawn into a war of words following the disappointing end to his second spell.
“Some managers, when they leave clubs, they like to wash their dirty clothes, which means they’d speak about what happened. They go back and speak and speak and speak,” he continued.
“I’m not that. I leave the clubs and I leave with a very good feeling, a feeling of I did everything to succeed, I gave everything to the club and I don’t like to go back and speak – especially about the bad things.
“I keep the good things – and, at Chelsea, I had so many good things, so many good things in terms of results, so many good things in friends that I have for life, an amazing empathy with the supporters.
“The supporters didn’t change their relationship with me because of last season – it was a couple of months of results – so I keep all these good memories and there are things that I don’t forget which I keep; I keep them for myself.”
But the Portuguese added that he and his United side must overlook the links that he has to Chelsea when Sunday afternoon comes around, just as he did when leading Inter to a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in 2010.
“We have to try to forget it,” Mourinho declared. “We have to try to do the job. I played there with Inter and I tried to do my job.
“If you ask me, if my team score a goal, am I going to celebrate like a crazy kid? No. I think I can control emotionally that situation. Am I going to have any negative reaction if the crowd have something negative with me? No. I think, again, I have maturity enough to control that emotion and I have lots of respect.
“But what Man Utd fans can expect from me is in this moment more important and what Man Utd fans can expect from me is to play against Chelsea the same way I play against Fenerbahce, I play against Liverpool, I play against anyone because it’s my job.”
United head into the fixture in seventh place in the Premier League table, two points and two places behind Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.