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May 2, 2014

Mourinho defends lack of trophies

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson recaps Atletico Madrid's 3-1 victory over Chelsea to advance to the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

LONDON -- Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has strongly defended his record and said this season is not a failure despite the prospect of a second consecutive campaign without a major trophy.

Jose Mourinho feels he has been a victim of his own success.
Jose Mourinho feels he has been a victim of his own success.

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The Portuguese, who returned to Stamford Bridge after leaving Real Madrid last summer, insisted he is judged by higher standards precisely because of his record of success, but that he is "proud" to be "guilty" of failure like that.

Evidently anticipating questions about the fact he is likely to go two seasons without major silverware for the first time in his career, Mourinho embarked on a strident speech.

"I'm going to tell you something -- a bit of the history of my career," he told journalists at his news conference ahead of Sunday's game against Norwich. "My career reached, against Inter, the maximum you can reach when you win everything. In 2010, I won everything: Scudetto, Coppa Italia, the Champions League.

"After that, this is the history of my career. In the first season [after 2010], I won the [Spanish] cup against the best team in the world [Barcelona] and finished second in the league after the best team in the world, and I lost the Champions League semifinal against the best team in the world.

"The next season, I was champion against the best team in the world, the champions of the records -- 100 points, 126 goals, the record team -- and we won that league. We lost the Champions League semifinal on penalties [against Bayern Munich] in a day when two of the best penalty takers in football missed, Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo. And that was a 'bad' season.

"In the third season, we won every match against the best team in the world -- in the league, the Super Cup, the cup, at the Bernabeu, at Barcelona -- we won everything against them. We won the Super Cup. We lost the league, finished second. And we lost the Champions League semifinal by one goal [against Borussia Dortmund].

"And the fourth season, which is this one, and probably the first where I don't win a single trophy -- unless we win the league -- I go to the Champions League semifinal and fight for the title until the last minute of the season. So these are the four bad seasons of my career.

"It went wrong by going year after year like nobody else did. You arrive at a level where finishing second is not good, losing a semifinal is not good. So I'm proud of that. Guilty of that."

Mourinho also maintained that this campaign was "transitional" for Chelsea but not one that will prevent them from aiming for victory next season.

He said: "For a transitional season, to fight for the title until the last moment and go to the Champions League semifinal I think is a good step, especially because what you do normally is compared with the season before. If you do that, Chelsea lost the title in November last season -- Chelsea were like 20 points [14] behind.

"And in the Champions League, Chelsea were the first team to be knocked out in the group phase as champions. So it's been a big step in terms of fighting for the title and for the Champions League. A good step. We are ready for the improvement we need for next season, and we need that. So many teams need years and years to build. We are in a transitional period, but it's not out of context to say this team deserves to start next season with a base to do well."

Meanwhile, Mourinho said that it was healthy that John Terry cried after Chelsea's Champions League semifinal elimination to Atletico Madrid but that it was now important to immediately bounce back.

He said: "Today he was smiling. That's the way you have to react. Last year, when they were knocked out in the group phase, were they crying? I don't think so. Why? Because it was the group phase.

"You cry if you lose a Champions League semifinal second leg. You build expectations, you are guilty of your own frustration because you build the expectations, doing so well. You put yourself in a position where you dream, you make people dream and make it feel possible, and you go to the limit and when you feel you're almost there, you don't do it.

"So you're frustrated. John had a very good Champions League and, again, against Atletico, had a very good game. To cry a couple of tears I don't think makes you less of a man than you are. But two days later you must show you are a man and ready to work again and play the next game.

"That's life. I think they come back like they had to be. Obviously, not jumping, but with the feeling that they had a good Champions League campaign. They did everything they could. And, in football as in life, you have to react to disappointment. Today we try to build a training session where they could recover some smiles, some happiness, some good feelings, because we have two more matches to play and we have to do it in a professional way, with motivation to try and finish the season with the feeling of a victory."

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