Mourinho: I'll make Turkish football more relevant


José Mourinho said at his first Fenerbahce news conference that his signing and reputation would bring more attention to the Turkish league, adding that his aim was to win the Super Lig and make it to the Champions League group stage next season.

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

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“My wish is that Turkish football improves at every level. But if I have to raise my voice to defend Fenerbahce I will not think twice,” he added, 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.

Mourinho, who has signed a two-year contract with Fenerbahce six months after being dismissed by Roma, made no promises to Fenerbahce fans regarding titles but has pledged to wear the shirt as though it is “my skin.”

Fenerbahce haven’t won the title since the 2013-14 campaign, and their last trophy was the Turkish Super Cup in 2014.

“I make zero promises [to the Fenerbahce fans] but [promise] a huge commitment, passion, work, empathy in relation to them,” Mourinho said. “The way to express that is the way we are going to work. This shirt is going to be my skin, it’s an expression that defines my mentality and that I want everyone at the club to have. The main dream is to win the Turkish Super Lig.”

Fenerbahce finished second to Galatasaray in the league this year despite only losing one game, meaning the Istanbul club will need to go through qualifying to book a spot in the Champions League’s newly revamped league phase.

Asked how he can convince fans to remain patient, Mourinho, 61, said: “By winning. For me, Fenerbahce means ambition.

“The fans don’t need to be patient, they need to be mad, they have to be demanding. If the players cannot deal with that pressure they don’t belong at Fenerbahce. I want that passion. I want the players to trust me, to know that I am very honest, very direct, sometimes not the nicest guy but always honest with them.

“I knew the social impact of this club [35 million fans]. The project had an impact on me and now is time for me to have an impact on the project.

“I’ve had six finals in Europe and won five but we have to go step by step.

“I shouldn’t be saying this but I wish that our [Fenerbahce] players at Euro 2024 go out early so that they can home, have a rest and train because we need to prepare for the Champions League qualification.

It’s the first time Mourinho will work outside of the top five European leagues since 2004 when he left FC Porto to join Chelsea after winning the Champions League.

Mourinho has also managed Internazionale, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham.

In other leagues, he has often caused a stir in news conferences and the self-named ‘Special One’ lightened the mood on Monday when he told the media “in 20 years of coaching, this is the longest press conference I’ve ever had.”

Mourinho hopes he can bring something positive to Fenerbahce and to Turkish football as a whole.

“Even before I had any connection with Fenerbahce, I was following it [league] quite regularly,” Mourinho said. “As a coach and as a person, I have good things and bad things. One of the good-bad things is that I bring attention with me so more people in Europe will follow the Turkish league. I’m coming to work for the Turkish football, for the Turkish Super Lig, but fundamentally for Fenerbahce.

“My wish is that Turkish football improves. It’s not possible to make changes in a short period of time. It has to be progressively. For sure we are going to have a strong team to try to fulfill the supporters’ dreams.”

Mourinho has won 26 major trophies in his coaching career, including two Champions League and three Premier League, while being voted FIFA’s Coach of the Year four times, with different clubs on each occasion.

“We managed to attract one of the biggest names in world football, the only coach in the world to have won all three European competitions,” Fenerbahce sporting director Mario Branco said. “We know what profiles the coach wants [for the transfer window].

“Thanks to our [club] president, we are in a financial position to attack the transfer market how Jose Mourinho requires.”

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.



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