Mourinho leaves on a high
Wednesday, 26 May 2004
José Mourinho said winning the UEFA Champions League was "the perfect way to bow out" as FC Porto coach.
By Adam Szreter in Gelsenkirchen
In the end it was quite one-sided, but until FC Porto opened the scoring it had been hard to separate the two best teams in Europe this season. At first it seemed the pace and directness of Ludovic Giuly might tip the balance in favour of the underdogs, but an adductor muscle injury to the AS Monaco FC captain after 22 minutes effectively ended their challenge.
Fernando Morientes, seeking a fourth UEFA Champions League winners' medal, rarely threatened while Jérôme Rothen played in fits and starts. Once Carlos Alberto had taken his chance with youthful abandon, Monaco's hopes rested largely on Porto becoming careless. Instead Deco and Dmitri Alenichev's breakaway goals underlined Porto's superiority.
For coach José Mourinho, rumoured to be joining Chelsea FC next season, it was a perfect way to bow out. "It's the best feeling," he said, before going on to confirm his departure. "I have been here two-and-a-half years, and it was fantastic. We won everything, it was a good group at the club. But it's time to leave I think; in the next few days I have to decide.
"I have to speak to the club. I owe them everything, but I would like to leave. In the next few days, everything will become clear. You will have to wait and see where I will go. But the club and the supporters of Porto must know one thing - I go with all my heart.
"As for the game, the second goal was the decisive moment. We won the UEFA Cup and the Champions League and clubs and coaches are made by these moments. I know I won't always be on top but I am prepared for all scenarios."
'Time to celebrate'
Porto captain Jorge Costa added: "It was hard to imagine that this moment would come true. It is a dream fulfilled and we must celebrate now. This is the result of great work by everyone at this wonderful club. It is hard to do better but now it's time to celebrate - and then we will think of next season."
Goalkeeper Vítor Baía, who completed a full set of European club titles - UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, UEFA Cup and now Champions League - said: "We had some luck in the first half but then we levelled the game in the second half. We scored our first goal at the right moment and then the class of our players appeared. It is a magical moment."
'Dream come true'
Deco, voted Man of the Match and like Mourinho probably on the move, said: "The match was over when I scored. It is a unique feeling to win this cup. It is the highest a player can reach. We all knew there is a lot of quality in our team. It is a dream come true. It will be very hard to leave the club but we have to see the situation in the coming days."
Brazilian striker Derlei, unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself, said: "The Portuguese flag flies on top of Europe. This win is a fantastic conquest for all the Portuguese people. Now we hope that Portugal win [UEFA] EURO 2004™ to give another moment of joy to the entire country".
Losing coach Didier Deschamps was pragmatic in defeat. "It's clear that Ludo's injury did not help us," he said. "They were lucky enough to score in the first half, though they did not get many opportunities but this is high-level football. We came back well in the second half but they scored again. After that, it became a lot more complicated for us.
"I think there is a difference between Porto and Monaco. Porto have more experience than Monaco. Even though I am very disappointed, this result is fair. I'll remember this Champions League as a human adventure and I'll also remember our achievement against huge sides. Unfortunately, there is this last game, the finale. To be defeated 3-0 is very hard for my players, considering their work in recent weeks and months."