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Mourinho says he won ‘half a trophy’ at Spurs, adds to list of dubious claims

Never one to be out of the limelight for too long, Jose Mourinho was in sparkling form as he chatted with James Corden over Zoom this week.

The Portuguese coach, enjoying a summer off following his sacking by Tottenham Hotspur before officially starting work as Roma boss next season, joined the host of “The Late, Late Show” for an interview published by The Sun.

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Mourinho casually dropped into conversation that he managed to add to his career trophy haul during his 17-month tenure at Spurs, despite not winning anything. While discussing Manchester United, another of his former clubs, Mourinho informed Corden that he’s actually won “25-and-a-half” trophies as a manager.

“What is the half?” asked Corden, momentarily confused, to which Mourinho replied: “The half is the final I didn’t play with Tottenham.”

Trophy No. 25 came in 2016-17 after winning the Europa League with Manchester United. However, for Mourinho the “half” came in April when Mourinho was fired by Spurs less than a week before they were due to face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.

Spurs subsequently lost 1-0 at Wembley under interim manager Ryan Mason, but their former boss obviously feels he did enough in the preceding four rounds of the competition to warrant a fraction of any prospective glory.

When Corden asked if he was disappointed not to be kept on until after the final, Mourinho aimed a sly dig at his former employers by saying: “Of course. To have a chance to win a trophy with a club that doesn’t have many, that was a dream.”


Winning 25 trophies is impressive by any standard, and yet Mourinho has plenty of previous exaggerated career achievements. He famously claimed a “treble” at United in 2016-17, urging his players to celebrate their Europa League triumph by holding three fingers aloft having won the League Cup a few months prior and the Community Shield, not much more than a preseason friendly, the week before the campaign began.

It wasn’t exactly the trio of domestic league, domestic cup and Champions League which is traditionally treated as the “Treble” (with a capital T) by Europe’s top clubs. In fact, it even pales in comparison to Liverpool‘s 2000-01 haul of FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup triumphs, which many fans around Old Trafford and elsewhere dismissed as a “plastic treble.” But still, it was good enough for Jose.


English football was introduced to Mourinho’s unique brand of scorekeeping as early as the 2005-06 season, when as Chelsea manager his reigning champions were knocked out of the League Cup on penalties in the third round.

Mourinho repeatedly claimed his side “didn’t lose the game” in the aftermath, despite clearly having lost the shootout against Charlton Athletic 5-4. He may have been technically correct, as the record books do not register shootout losses as defeats, but it’s unlikely Mourinho changed many minds. At least he didn’t insist his squad turn up for Charlton’s subsequent fourth-round tie against Blackburn Rovers a month later.


Eyebrows were raised in similarly quizzical fashion when Mourinho attempted to defend his Manchester United team’s underwhelming home record in the Premier League in the 2016-17 season.

In a bid to turn attention away from the vast amount of draws United were being held to on their own turf, Mourinho attempted to baffle us all with the brain-melting calculation that 10 draws are in fact better that five wins and five defeats.

“I know 10 draws are 10 points. Five wins and five defeats is 15 points,” Mourinho told reporters. “What is better? The 15 points obviously. But in terms of looking to the future, I prefer to look at 10 matches and 10 draws.”


Statistics were bent to the breaking point and beyond in June 2020 when Mourinho took umbrage over claims he wasn’t getting the best out of Harry Kane. The Spurs coach barked back: “I had one guy called [Didier] Drogba, he played for me for four seasons, he scored 186 goals, which gives an average of 46 goals per season,”

He then went on to list all the top strikers that have flourished under him, name-checking Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Diego Milito and Karim Benzema. The only issue being that Drogba actually scored only 73 goals under Mourinho at Chelsea, less than half the amount originally stated by the manager.


Perhaps the finest example of Mourinho’s malleable use of facts and figures came at the very beginning of his United tenure in 2016, when hope was new and relationships hadn’t yet become irreversibly frayed.

In his introductory news conference, the Portuguese coach made a point of addressing the concerns over his record of blooding young players by listing every single youth prospect he’d given game time to as a manager.

“I knew this question was coming,” he said. “Do you want to know how many players I have promoted from academies? Forty-nine. Do you want me to list them out?”

He then proceeded to sit and read through a prepared document naming every single one of the 49 academy graduates he’d seen come through the ranks at all of his previous clubs. It didn’t matter that only a few of those names went on to have much of a career at the top level, or that some of them barely got more than a few minutes of playing time as late substitutes. Mourinho had his 49 names.

That’s the magic of the Special One’s “special” mathematics — it doesn’t matter if they’re right or wrong, or even close, as long as they’re delivered with enough zeal.

ESPN Premier League News

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