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Mourinho says move to Fenerbahce will increase attention on Turkish league

June 3, 2024 at 2:50 pm

Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho (C) greets the fans after an official signing ceremony with Fenerbahce at Ulker Stadium in Istanbul, Turkiye on June 2, 2024. [Hakan Akgün – Anadolu Agency]

Newly appointed Fenerbahce FC manager Jose Mourinho said on Monday that his signing and reputation would bring more attention to the Turkish league, Reuters has reported. He added that his aim is to win the Super Lig and take his new club into the UEFA Champions’ League group stage next season, for which it will have to pre-qualify.

Mourinho, 61, was unveiled as Fenerbahce manager in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans on Sunday. The Portuguese manager has been out of a job since being sacked by Italian Serie A side AS Roma in January.

Speaking at a press conference at Fenerbahce’s facilities in Istanbul, the former Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Manchester United manager said that he was making “zero promises” apart from “huge commitment and passion, and work and empathy.” His ambition in coming to Turkiye, he said, was to feel the heat”.

“One of the things is, I bring attention in with me. More people in Europe will follow the Turkish league,” claimed Mourinho. “I’m coming to work for Turkish football, for Turkish Super Lig. But fundamentally I come for Fenerbahce.”

His wish is to see Turkish football improve at every level. “But if I have to raise my voice to defend Fenerbahce I will not think twice,” he insisted, in an apparent reference to the club’s complaints over what it calls unfairness.

The Super Lig was marred by controversies last season, with a spate of violence and disputes overshadowing the narrow title fight between Fenerbahce and bitter rivals Galatasaray. Galatasaray clinched the championship last month, on the final matchday of the season.

Mourinho pointed out that the upcoming European Championship would limit availability for pre-season training with some players away on international duty, and that he would be able to make squad changes only at the start of next season.

“When people look at me — I did six finals, I won five of them — people think immediately ‘big’, but I think we have to go step by step, and of course the qualifications and playoffs are going to be hard simply because we have no time to prepare,” he said.

Asked how he would teach fans to be patient, after the club’s failure to win a championship for more than a decade, Mourinho said the fans had to be “crazy” and “demanding”.

“You can’t teach what doesn’t belong to the culture and that is what makes it fun,” he said. “I want that passion.”

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