Jose Mourinho endured a nightmare return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as the Portuguese boss suffered the heaviest Premier League defeat of his career at the hands of his old side Chelsea.
The 53-year-old was returning to west London for the first time since Roman Abramovich sacked him last December but watched on helplessly from the sidelines as many of his former players ran riot against his Manchester United side during the 4-0 drubbing.
While the defeat was Mourinho’s heaviest ever Premier League loss, it is only the second biggest of his career.
The biggest, of course, came when Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side famously demolished Mourinho’s Real Madrid at the Camp Nou in 2010.
It was Mourinho’s first ever El Clasico and Madrid were humiliated at the home of their fiercest rivals.
Jerzy Dudek, a substitute on that night, revealed afterwards that many Madrid players were in tears after the defeat but the former Liverpool goalkeeper also provided a glimpse into the inspiring way Mourinho’s dealt with big defeats in the past.
Jerzy Dudek on Jose Mourinho’s management after Barcelona’s 5-0 win against Real Madrid
5-0, can you believe it? Barcelona won 5-0. It was the pogrom. After the match in the locker room there was total chaos. Some of us were crying, some were quarrelling, some were looking at the floor.
Then Mourinho came in. He knew how bad it was but he looked at us and said: ‘I know this hurts you. Perhaps for most of you it is the worst loss of your entire career. They are happy now and seem to have won the championship, but have only won one game. This is just the beginning. There is still a long way to get the title.Tomorrow I will give you the day off, but do not stay in your houses. Go with your families, children or friends for a walk around the city. Let people see that you can overcome this. Perhaps people talk about the significance of this defeat, but do not hide behind it. You must show your balls. After this defeat, we must fight for the title’
We rose after this disaster quicker than anyone expected. I understood for the first time how important psychology was in sport. How much you can gain or lose. And what an expert psychologist Jose Mourinho is.
Only once – in January 2015 against Tottenham – has a Mourinho side conceded more than four in the Premier League as Chelsea collapsed to a 5-3 defeat at White Hart Lane.
Chelsea would go on to win the League Cup and Premier League that season, before the Blues capitulated in Mourinho’s third season back at the club.
The defeat at Stamford Bridge yesterday leaves Manchester United in seventh, six points behind leaders Manchester City.
The Red Devils have won just one of their last six league matches and face arch rivals Manchester City in the EFL Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
United looked second best in all departments against Antonio Conte’s side and Zlatan Ibrahimovic irked supporters by smiling and swapping shirts with Willian after the match.
Mourinho promised to mount a title challenge in his first press conference at Old Trafford but it’s already clear the Special One will need to draw upon all of his psychological expertise if he’s to turn things round at the Theatre of Dreams.