FC Porto was the club who transformed José Mourinho in top european manager. Two and half years in the club where he won everything he could win: 2 portuguese league, 1 portuguese cup, 1 supercup and of course the main trophies, 1 Uefa Cup in 2003 and 1 Champions League in 2004.
He arrived in FC Porto in January 2002 to replace Octávio Machado. At this time, Porto was in 5th place in the Liga (behind Sporting, Boavista, Leiria and Benfica), had been eliminated from the Portuguese Cup and was in last place in their Champions League second stage group. Mourinho guided the team to third place that year after a strong 15-game run (W–D–L: 11–2–2) and gave the promise of “making Porto champions next year.”
He quickly identified several key players whom he saw as the backbone of what he believed would be a perfect Porto team: Vítor Baía,Ricardo Carvalho, Costinha, Deco, Dmitri Alenichev, and Hélder Postiga. He recalled captain Jorge Costa after a six-month loan toCharlton Athletic. The signings from other clubs included Nuno Valente and Derlei from União de Leiria; Paulo Ferreira from Vitória de Setúbal; Pedro Emanuel from Boavista; and Edgaras Jankauskas and Maniche, who both had been out of contract at Benfica.
During the pre-season, Mourinho put detailed reports of the team training on the club website. The reports were filled with formal vocabulary, as, for instance, he referred to a 20 km jog as an extended aerobic exercise. While they attracted some scorn for the pretentiousness, others praised the innovation and the application of a more scientific approach to the training methods practised in Portugal. One of the key aspects in Mourinho-era Porto was his quick wit and the pressuring play, which started at the offensive line, dubbed pressão alta (“high pressure”). The physical and combative abilities of the teams’ defenders and midfielders allowed Porto to apply pressure from the offensive lines and forced opponents either to concede the ball or try longer, uncertain passes.
In 2003, Mourinho won his first Primeira Liga with a 27–5–2 record, 11 points clear of Benfica, the team he quit two years earlier. The total of 86 points out of the possible maximum of 102 was a Portuguese record since the rule of three points per win was introduced. Mourinho also won the Portuguese Cup (against former club Leiria) and the UEFA Cup finalagainst Celtic, both in May 2003.
The following season witnessed further successes: he led Porto to victory in the one-match Portuguese SuperCup, beating Leiria 1–0. They lost, however, the UEFA Super Cup 1–0 to AC Milan, with Andriy Shevchenko scoring the solitary goal. The team was dominant in the Primeira Liga and they finished the season with a perfect home record, an eight-point advantage, and an unbeaten run that only ended against Gil Vicente; they secured the title five weeks before the end of the season. Porto lost the Portuguese Cup final to Benfica in May 2004, but two weeks later, Mourinho won a greater prize: the UEFA Champions League, with a 3–0 win over AS Monaco in Germany. The club had eliminated Manchester United, Olympique Lyonnais, and Deportivo La Coruña and their sole defeat of the competition came against Real Madrid in the group round.
In Portugal he was loved by FC Porto fans and hated by the rivals, having also a bad relationship with the press connected with the clubs from the capital. This situation start to change later when he moved to Chelsea and start to win abroad.
JOSÉ MOURINHO – FC PORTO
January (2002) to June (2004)
- Primeira Liga (2): 2002–03, 2003–04
- Taça de Portugal (1): 2002–03
- Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira (1): 2003
- UEFA Champions League (1): 2003–04
- UEFA Cup (1): 2002–03
President: Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa
Assistant Coach: Rui Faria, Baltemar Brito, Aloísio, Silvino, André.
Observer: André Villas Boas