Jose Mourinho has admitted that he was a “d*ckhead” to his Inter squad during his time with the treble-winning side of 2009-10, but that ultimately 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 departing San Siro.
Mourinho, now in charge of Premier League outfit Tottenham, led the Nerazzurri to their most successful season in history, clinching the Serie A title, the Coppa Italia and lifting the Champions League, beating Bayern Munich 2-0 in the final.
While the Portuguese coach can look back fondly on that chapter of his life, he admits that he made mistakes in Milan and that it was not always rosy behind the scenes.
“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. “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, the Portuguese pointed to a 3-1 loss in January of 2009, after which he lost his cool and would eventually have to apologise to the squad.
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 squad to second place in the Premier League was the greatest achievement of his career, but he admits that he has never felt as comfortable as he did when he was in the dugout at the Giuseppe Meazza.
“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.”