Jose Mourinho recalled his Chelsea debut and revealed he had set-up the team to prevent Manchester United from scoring through 900 minutes.
After knocking out Sir Alex Ferguson’s men on route to leading FC Porto to Champions League glory in 2004, Mourinho knew exactly how to contain United for his Chelsea debut in the Premier League.
The Red Devils enjoyed the majority of possession at Stamford Bridge, but simply couldn’t score. Eventually, they paid the ultimate price as Eidur Gudjohnsen’s 14th-minute was enough to wrap up an opening day win for Chelsea.
Mourinho’s men then went on to win the 2004/05 Premier League title with a 12-point advantage over runners-up Arsenal.
Now, the Blues will hope to emulate the success from 15 years ago ahead of next season’s opening day clash with United at Old Trafford on August 11.
“It was important to win against a direct rival,” Mourinho told The Coaches’ Voice.
“In the context of 38 matches, you cannot lose many points, especially at home against direct rivals if you want to win the title.
“I thought it was very important because there was not a contradiction between our words to the players, our ambitions, and then the result of the match.
“If you say ‘this season is to be champions’ and then the first match you lose 3-0 at home to a direct rival, you give one step back.
“So it was one step forward, there was a big relation between that match and what we tried to give to the team in pre-season which was mental strength, being compact, tactical discipline and then be really ambitious on that approach that sometimes I call the ‘all in approach’.
“You have to put everything in that game, in every minute of the game, every second of the game, it’s all in.
“It’s your qualities, your physical power, it’s your aggression, it’s your emotional control, you have to put everything in.
“That game was one of those matches where we could feel the ‘all in’.
“It’s one of those matches where I felt the game is 90 minutes, but it could be 900 minutes and they wouldn’t score. We would always win the match.”