Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has discussed his explosive first encounter with Jose Mourinho but believes English football owes him a respectful goodbye following his sacking by Tottenham.
Carragher was part of a Liverpool side who were regularly at loggerheads with Mourinho’s Chelsea following the Portuguese arrival in 2004.
The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ lived up to his name after rocking up at Stamford Bridge, as he guided Chelsea to consecutive Premier League titles, plus an FA Cup and two League Cups in his first stint with the club.
Mourinho would go on to achieve further success at Inter and Real Madrid before coming back to Chelsea to win another Premier League crown and League Cup.
However, Mourinho has struggled to have the same impact during his last two spells at English clubs, with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – although the 58-year-old did win the Europa League and EFL Cup in 2017 with the Red Devils.
It looked as though Mourinho had found some of his old magic once again when he guided Tottenham to the top of the table in November.
But a huge slump in form was to follow and reports of unrest among players – something which has been a common theme during his career – appears to have impacted Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy’s decision to sack him on Monday, just six days before their Carabao Cup final match with Manchester City.
Speaking in his Telegraph column, Carragher said: "I will never forget my first encounter with Jose Mourinho.
"It was in Cardiff ’s Millennium Stadium during the 2005 League Cup Final and the Chelsea manager rushed to the technical area to accuse my team-mate Luis Garcia of diving.
"Dashing to the scene, I let rip. 'Don’t you f***ing start about diving,' I shouted. 'Your Porto side was the f***ing worst.'
"The altercation lasted 30 seconds. The Chelsea and Liverpool fans loved it.
"Chelsea beat us after extra-time and I was distraught. After the game Mourinho found me. His mood was much different as he offered me his commiserations.
"'You know I was just fighting for my team, don’t you?' he said."
Carragher believes Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United sides were the only other teams who epitomised their manager as much as Chelsea during Mourinho’s first spell in charge.
The former Liverpool captain and now respected pundit is adamant he would have loved working under Mourinho and insists every player in England was the same during that time.
"The Chelsea players thought of him in the same way Liverpool’s do Jurgen Klopp today,” Carragher added.
But the relationship with the Spurs players appeared to have deteriorated so much that Levy decided the club would have a better chance of beating Man City on Sunday with 29-year-old Ryan Mason in charge.
Mason is the Premier League’s youngest ever boss, with no senior managerial experience, but the interim head coach did guide Spurs to a 2-1 win over Southampton on Wednesday.
However, Carragher said: "Say what you want about his [Mourinho’s] recent record. It does not change the fact Mourinho is one of the greatest coaches of all time.
"He deserves that recognition as part of a respectful goodbye from English football because I do not see how Jose ever works again in the Premier League.
"The timing of Mourinho’s sacking is bizarre. A win over Manchester City at Wembley before a summer handshake would have made more sense.
"No one will convince me Spurs' chances in a final would not be higher with Mourinho in the technical area, fighting for his team and taking on any rival centre-half shouting expletives in his direction.
"Without the box office manager of his generation, the interview zones and technical areas of England are already less colourful.
"If Jose Mourinho has managed his final league game in England, we should say this; love him or loathe him, it was special."
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