Jose Mourinho on raising Turkish football’s profile at Fenerbahce: ‘I bring attention with me’


Jose Mourinho says he wants to bring trophies to Fenerbahce and raise the profile of Turkish football after acknowledging he “brings attention” with him.

Mourinho has been appointed by last year’s Turkish Super Lig runners-up on a two-year contract, having been without a job for five months since he was sacked by Roma in January.

The Portuguese was welcomed by 30,000 delirious Fenerbahce fans when he was unveiled on Sunday evening.

At a packed press conference on Monday, which ran for over 90 minutes, the 61-year-old thanked supporters and said: “One of the “good/bad” things about me is that I bring attention with me.

“So, more people in Europe will follow the Turkish league. My wish is that Turkish football improves at every level.

“I’m coming to work for Turkish football, for the Turkish Super Lig, but fundamentally I come to work for Fenerbahce. If I have to raise my voice to defend Fenerbahce, I will not think twice.”

The job is Mourinho’s first outside of Europe’s top five leagues since his spell as Porto manager between 2002 and 2004.

Despite being renowned for managing a collection of Europe’s biggest clubs, Mourinho said the Fenerbahce job demonstrated his ambition as it moved him out of his comfort zone.

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(Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images

“What is ambition? My house is in London? To have a London club, to fight to be sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, make a miracle and qualify for the Europa League? Is that ambition?” Mourinho continued.

”I love Italy. To have a team where you have to make a miracle to win a European competition and you stay fifth, sixth, seventh, is that ambition?

“To be in Portugal, to be at home, visit my mum every day is that ambition?

“Ambition is to play to win, to feel the pressure you have to win every match to be champion. This is the reality of Fenerbahce.

“It means I’m not in my comfort zone. The project had an impact on me…now it’s my time to have an impact on the project.”

Fenerbahce have not won the league title for 10 years, their longest run without lifting the Super Lig trophy.

Before the 2024-25 league season starts the team must navigate three qualifying rounds if they are to reach next season’s revamped Champions League. Mourinho’s first competitive match in charge of the club will be in late July in the second qualifying round.

Mourinho said of his ambitions: “Zero promises but it’s obvious the main dream is to win the Turkish Super Lig, having the utmost respect to the clubs that won in previous years. It’s our main target.

“Europe…when people look at me people think I did six finals, I won five of them, people immediately think big, but we have to go step by step.

“Qualification and play-offs are going to be hard, especially because we have no time to prepare.

“I’m going to say something maybe I shouldn’t say, but I wish our players go out early in the Euros and they come home to rest and to train.

“The Europa League gives you more chances of doing something big, but the main target in Europe is to try and play in the Champions League group stage.”

There were numerous questions about how Mourinho was brought to Istanbul after widespread reports that presidential candidate Aziz Yildrim was the one who first contacted Mourinho ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.

Mourinho praised current president Ali Koc and said he will work under whoever is elected next week.

“Ali Koc should be sat in the middle of the table (for bringing me here),“ Mourinho added. “I used to joke and say many times; ‘I am Jose Mourinho’. In this moment I want to say from now; ‘I am Fenerbahce coach’. That’s the way I want to be.

“I am Fenerbahce coach for the next two years. I work for Fenerbahce. But I signed the contract with Fenerbahce in a moment where the president was and is Mr Ali Koc, where the sporting director was and is Mario Branco.”

(Yasin Akgul/AFP via Getty Images)





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