Almost a year on from his exit from Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho returns to face former club Man Utd on Wednesday as he plots a win for Tottenham.
As noted by United’s official site, the 56-year-old departed on December 18 last year, but is just weeks into his latest role and has guided Spurs to three consecutive wins across all competitions since stepping in to replace Mauricio Pochettino.
However, he’ll now face a reunion with his old club and the Man Utd faithful at Old Trafford in midweek, but he’s expecting a positive response and doesn’t believe that he’ll face a hostile reception.
“I’m not a villain, I’m not an enemy but I am the coach that is trying to win against Manchester United. That’s the way I think they are going to look at me,” he is quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “I think a nice reaction is probably to me but then during the game the support will be for Solskjaer. They love their club, so they love Solskjaer.
“During the match I expect them to forget me and to support their team to get the result they want.
“Going back to Old Trafford is going back to a place where I was happy. You can go to my office upstairs, I still have a couple of pictures of my time at United.”
Time will tell if that’s the case or not, but ultimately although the end of his tenure was filled with disappointment and frustration as Man Utd struggled to compete at the level that they wanted to, he did enjoy a relatively successful spell in charge.
The Portuguese tactician won a League Cup and the Europa League during his time in Manchester, but he’ll now be fully focused on what is a potentially crucial game for the two sides in question.
Back-to-back wins in the league under Mourinho have helped Spurs climb up to fifth place in the Premier League table and just six points behind Chelsea in fourth spot.
In contrast, United are still down in ninth place, and so with these two clubs in direct competition for a top-four finish this season, Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will both know the importance of claiming all three points on Wednesday night and that takes on a higher priority for the visiting manager over the reception he receives from the fans.