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Jose Mourinho, left, says he has a close friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson. Carl de Souza / AFP
Jose Mourinho, left, says he has a close friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson. Carl de Souza / AFP

Jose Mourinho 'didn't want to succeed' Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United

Portuguese manager says he cannot imagine managing any English Premier League club other than Chelsea.

LONDON // Jose Mourinho insists there was never any chance he would try to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United even though he knew the legendary manager was set to retire months before the rest of the world.

Mourinho had long been linked with a potential move to Old Trafford and many pundits felt he would be United's No 1 choice when it was revealed that Ferguson was going to step down at the end of the season.

Although Mourinho claimed Ferguson told him several months ago he was planning to quit, even that bombshell apparently did not persuade the Portuguese coach to make a play for the United job.

It has been widely suggested that United's decision to hire Everton's David Moyes instead of attempting to lure Mourinho from Real Madrid was prompted by concern over the former Inter Milan manager's volatile temperament.

But Mourinho is adamant he was always determined to rejoin Chelsea if he ever came back to the English Premier League and that dream has now come to fruition after he was officially unveiled for his second spell as Blues boss last week.

"I knew that Ferguson was retiring many months ago. And I'm so happy with this trust because it's big news for the world," Mourinho said. "I can imagine just a very close circle around him knew that and it was a big responsibility for me to know.

"Why do I know that? I know because we are friends. So if I am Sir Alex's friend to know he is going to retire, he is also my friend to know that the club I want to coach in England is Chelsea.

"Of course, I told him that. I told him I want to come to Chelsea. I would turn down everyone in the world for Chelsea.

"Come to England and not to come to Chelsea? Only if Chelsea doesn't want me. If Chelsea doesn't want me, I am a professional, I have to follow my life, I have to be happy in another place.

"But when at the same time, I want to leave Real, I want to come to England, and Chelsea is waiting for me, so of course it is emotional because it is the only decision I can make."

Now Mourinho is back at Stamford Bridge six years after his exit from by Blues owner Roman Abramovich.

He sometimes had a fractious relationship with Abramovich, but he is keen to talk positively of his dealings with the demanding Russian billionaire.

Even the decision to sign Andriy Shevchenko for 30 million (Dh173m) which proved to be a poor move and was regarded as a sign of Abramovich meddling in team affairs is now seen in a positive light by Mourinho.

"Do you want to know the truth? I hope the board is not upset with me," he said. "We wanted to buy Samuel Eto'o and the boss [Abramovich] did everything to bring him. In the end, Barcelona said we don't sell, forget it. So then we looked at Shevchenko.

"I was happy with Shevchenko. Even with the top dogs that you buy for millions, sometimes it doesn't work. It doesn't mean you or the club made a mistake. It just doesn't work."

Mourinho had many supporters amongst the playing staff during his first spell at Chelsea, but that will not stop him laying down the law to his squad when they meet for pre-season training.

"If you are a top professional, if you are not a selfish person, if you put the club in front of yourself and if you are here to work 100 per cent for me, for your fellow players and for the club, we will have a wonderful relationship," he said.

"If you are selfish, if you don't care about the club, don't care about the fans, don't care about the image, we are in big trouble.

"Sometimes you a couple of guys who are not so keen to accept these kind of rules and this is where you have some problematic relationships."

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