What the UEFA Europa League means to José Mourinho

"I have my medal, and more important than that, I have my memories," José Mourinho told UEFA.com, the Manchester United boss recalling his 2003 success with Porto as he prepares for another final.

José Mourinho celebrates taking United to the UEFA Europa League final
José Mourinho celebrates taking United to the UEFA Europa League final ©Getty Images

It is 14 years since José Mourinho won his first European trophy in this competition with Porto and it proved a sign of things to come. As he sets his sights on reclaiming the prize, the Manchester United manager is hoping victory in the UEFA Europa League could become the start of something great once again.

  • Read the full text of this interview in the official UEFA Europa League final programme

Is there a space in your cabinet for the UEFA Europa League trophy?

It's the only trophy I've won that I don't have a replica of, because my guys, they couldn't do a replica of such a difficult cup, they said. I have a replica of the Champions League, I have a replica of the Premier League [trophy], La Liga, all those things I was lucky enough to win.

It was not the Europa League in my time, 2003, but the UEFA Cup is too beautiful, too heavy and too difficult to do it, so I don't have a replica. But I have my medal, and more importantly than that, I have my memories.

Your Porto team beat Celtic 3-2 to win the UEFA Cup in 2003. What did that triumph mean to you?

2003 final highlights
2003 final highlights

Nobody expected us to win it. A young team, nine Portuguese players out of 11, a new manager without any international experience. I decided to stay in Porto one more year, and, you know, I thank God for that decision! But I think it was the beginning of everything, to win a European trophy and, one year after, the Champions League.

One year after that, I left my country to start my adventure. I keep saying that was the most emotional final of my career, because even the Champions League finals [of 2004 and 2010] were much more under control, the result was always under control. This one was 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, extra time, 3-2; it was a really emotional night for us.

So might we see a touchline dash if you win it with Manchester United?

Why not? It depends on the moment, I just say that it all depends on the occasion. I won the biggest one, the Champions League, 3-0 [with Porto in 2004], and I didn't run and jump because it's about the emotion of the game.

So it depends, it depends, but it will be an amazing thing for the club to go back to European trophies, to go back to the European Super Cup. It would be an amazing thing for the club, and the club is more important than all of us.

Read the full text of this interview in the official UEFA Europa League final programme