Jose Mourinho is clearly after the Manchester United job
The Special One's unusual conduct suggests he's desperate to take over from Fergie
JOSE MOURINHO may have distanced himself from the Old Trafford job during the build-up to the match between Real Madrid and Manchester United, but his conduct during and after the tempestuous clash suggests that he is desperate to take over from Alex Ferguson when the time finally comes.
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- Roy Keane sparks outrage in ITV studio
- Editor's letter: Nani vs. Nano
After the game the Special One was the picture of humility as he admitted that United had outplayed his Madrid side and even claimed "the best side lost". The remark, possibly designed to butter up the United faithful, was picked up on by controversial ITV pundit Roy Keane, who commented "I think he's trying to be humble and it really doesn't suit him."
It was certainly a different reaction to the one Mourinho showed when his Porto side knocked out United in 2004. On that occasion the young manager sprinted down the Old Trafford touchline to join his players' celebrations after a late goal knocked sent Ferguson out of the competition.
This time the clash of the two managers was touted as an "audition" for Mourinho, although he publicly sought to dispel that rumour prior to the match. But eyebrows were raised as the usually prickly Special One adopted a respectful persona ahead of the clash.
Before the game he also promised that he would keep his emotions in check and he was true to his word. As Fergie ranted and raved at the officials following Nani's controversial red card in the second half, Mourinho cut an unusually dignified figure in the Real Madrid dugout.
Soon after the decision, and with the United boss beside himself on the touchline, Mourinho approached him, covered his mouth and whispered in his ear. It was obvious that what he said was conciliatory and possibly even apologetic and it elicited no more than a shrug from Ferguson.
The Portuguese coach appeared desperate not to be seen gloating as he stalked off down the touchline during injury time at the end of the second half - even though, by then, the tie was won.
It was obvious that there would be uproar at the final whistle and Mourinho wanted to remove himself from the situation. He even shrugged apologetically as he ran the gauntlet of angry United fans.
Afterwards, Daily Telegraph writer Jeremy Wilson summed up the thoughts of many on Twitter when he wrote: "Mourinho's diplomacy very clearly suggests that Man U is the job he really wants."
And it wasn't just football fans taking notice. The Special One's odd behaviour also caught the eye of The Sun's political editor Tom Newton Dunn, who tweeted: "Was that just the biggest job application by Mourinho or what?" ·