It was thought that the Portuguese was past his best, but 'The Special One' could make more history in Wednesday's Europa Conference League final.Unsurprisingly for a man with a wicked sense of humour, Jose Mourinho has enjoyed pointing out in current weeks that the last time he made it to a major final, he was sacked.
Of course, there was never any chance of such a regrettable fate befalling him at Roma ahead of Wednesday's Europa Conference League face-off with Feyenoord in Tirana.
The timing of Daniel Levy's choice to fire Mourinho as Tottenham manager, coming as it did 6 days before the 2021 Carabao Cup final, might have shocked many Spurs supporters, but there was no denying that lots of fans enjoyed to see him go.
And provided the acrimonious nature of his Manchester United exit in 2018, there was a reasonable suspicion in England that Mourinho's time at the top was waning.He was however hailed as something of a messiah by Roma fans when it was sensationally revealed last May that he would be replacing Paulo Fonseca as coach for the 2021-22 campaign.
In their eyes, he was still 'The Special One' who had inspired Inter to a treble in 2010. Their belief was that he could do something just as amazing at the Stadio Olimpico.Undoubtedly, Lazio legend Paolo Di Canio was immediately flooded with messages from Roma-supporting pals when the news initially broke.Among his voicemail responds found its way onto YouTube and rapidly went viral.
" You've got the worst of the worst," Di Canio claimed. "I understand you needed a big name, however it's like when you sign a player who is finished. He doesn't even play football; he plays anti-football.
" You might delight in yourselves in a couple of press conferences, since debate makes for good theatre, but let me inform you: to restore a club, he's the worst you could potentially get."
As former Portugal international Adrien Silva told GOAL, "It's unexpected in one sense, because Roma was having a really challenging time before he arrived. They were no place near the very same level as their main rivals in Italy now they're getting closer and more detailed under him.
" But, on the other hand, it's not that unexpected that they're now succeeding due to the fact that it's Jose Mourinho! And he's shown at so many clubs during this profession that he's one of the very best supervisors in the world.
" It just goes to show you that in some cases you simply need the best manager at the right time for things to click."
Mourinho and Roma undoubtedly now appear a best match. At the very least, they have re-energised one another.
Mourinho has actually admitted that he felt and fed off the passion of the club's long-suffering fan base right from his very first day back in Italy.Hundreds turned up to welcome him to Rome, while a mural quickly appeared in the Testaccio quarter of the city illustrating a smiling Mourinho wearing a Giallorossi scarf and driving a custom-made Vespa.It was rather the welcome, instant evidence that former Roma director Walter Sabatini had been right when he explained Mourinho's arrival as "a psychological earthquake".
The after-shocks are still being felt. Mourinho has been associated with one row after another, underlining that he hasn't lost his fondess for courting controversy.However, it has actually likewise become clear over the course of the campaign that he likewise remains an amazing man-manager.
On the face of it, the Serie A statistics aren't that excellent: Mourinho just accumulated 63 points-- one more than Fonseca managed in his final season at the helm.However, Roma not only secured a Europa League place by means of a sixth-placed finish, they did so while also progressing all the way to the Conference League final.
That truly should not have been possible with such a shallow pool of quality reserves.However, after ruthlessly ditching those he considered surplus to requirements, including ex-Barcelona and Chelsea star Pedro, Mourinho commenced making the most out of a small-but-unified team.He likewise recruited, it needs to be stated.
It is, of course, the sporting directors that manage transfers in Italy, however Tammy Abraham was effectively a Mourinho signing, with the former Chelsea manager heading out of his way to persuade the Cobham academy product to relocate to Rome.The England international has enjoyed a historic debut season in Serie A, and again, Mourinho has actually played a pivotal role.
Even after Abrham scored the decisive goal in Roma's Conference League semi-final win over Leicester, Mourinho refused to applaud his star striker.
" Because he can do better and he knows that!" Mourinho informed Sky Sport Italia. "He is an excellent player with potential to be even higher."
This was traditional Mourinho, naturally. The tough love approach hasn't always worked, obviously, however it has constantly been his way.
" When you train under Mourinho, he takes a typical player and can make him believe he is the best player in the world," former Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar informed GOAL. "He is a magician.
" He takes a player and makes him stronger than he is. That's Mourinho's approach to players. He is fantastic and he gets inside your head.
" I keep in mind one day, I wasn't playing very well. For him to press me, to make me believe I are among the best goalkeepers, he said 'You can be among the best worldwide however today you played like you are from Serie C!'
" He has in this manner of pressing you due to the fact that he believes in you, making you angry a bit however this is what he does."
Tellingly, Cesar and much of his former Inter team-mates still speak routinely to Mourinho in a WhatsApp group set up to celebrate their treble triumph.
Once again, this is the sort of impressive bond Mourinho is capable of forming with players, a club or even a city.It's certainly what's happening today in Rome.Some were surprised by the tears in Mourinho's eyes after the full-time whistle blew against Leicester, but not Cesar.
" Jose Mourinho wept after the semi-final since he knows how crucial it is for the fans," the Brazilian included. "After 30 years, the fans of Rome can enjoy seeing their team in a European final.
" This is a manager who won the Champions League twice with Inter and Porto and the Europa League with Manchester United, however I know him very well and I understand just how much he will wish to win the final.
" He can make history in European football." Undoubtedly, Mourinho has already end up being the first manager to reach a UEFA final with four different clubs.On Wednesday night, however, he can also end up being the first to win the Champions League, the Europa League and the Conference League.
The latter is a new prize; it is undoubtedly the least prestigious of the three. But it would arguably represent his most significant success in a decade. If not more.Perhaps for the first time since his Inter days, Mourinho has merged both a club and a fanbase, as underlined by the reality that 50,000 supporters are set to turn up at Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night simply to watch the Tirana final on big screens.
As Mourinho said after the semi-final, "This is a victory of the family. Not just the one that was on the pitch and on the bench, however in the stadium.
"That is our greatest accomplishment, this empathy and sense of family we have actually developed with the fans." Anybody who has actually gone to a Roma home game this season would find it difficult to disagree.
Win or lose against Feyenoord, Mourinho has actually already shown Di Canio and many others wrong.He's not simply started reconstructing a club. He's also been restoring his own reputation in the procedure.