Jose Mourinho’s love affair with Crystal Palace continued last night when the Portuguese coach expressed his admiration for Roy Hodgson, the players, the stadium and the supporters in his post-match interviews with the press.
Whilst it was always going to be easy for the United gaffer to be magnanimous following such a dramatic last-gasp winner for his side, his hugely positive comments about the club are part of a long-term trend that first began back when he was in charge at Chelsea.
For years, he and Roy Hodgson have been known to get on well, making his comments regarding our tactical plan as predictable as they were flattering but for many, it was his declaration that “this stadium and these fans are absolutely beautiful” which made their ears prick up when he was talking to Sky Sports after the final whistle.
The observant amongst you will no doubt remember the fact that Mourinho used our away support as an example of what he wanted from Chelsea’s fans on more than one occasion when he was in charge of the Blues. Whilst that rattled the Stamford Bridge faithful it led to a sense of mutual respect between us and the former translator which clearly remains to this day.
Having been a part of the atmosphere that always leaves a mark on Jose whenever we’ve faced him, it’s not hard for me to see where his admiration stems from and even in the immediate aftermath of a crushing defeat, I’m honest enough to admit that his complimentary words are a pleasant thing to hear.
Whilst I’m not sure he’ll be quite ready to step down at his role at Old Trafford and stroll into the home dugout at Selhurst Park anytime soon, his long-standing admiration for us could lead to a spell in charge during the distant future. Of course, this is nothing but fantastical speculation on my part but he has never spoken about another English club of our stature in the same glowing terms; a fact that leads me to believe that his soft spot is only growing larger as the years go by.
I said on Twitter last night that, for all the emotional hell my club put me through, I will continue to love them until my dying day. We may not challenge for titles, there might be more heartache than glory from year to year but I’ll take that all day long over the thought of piggybacking off the success of a club from hundreds of miles away. Perhaps that’s what Jose Mourinho admires most about us, a deep-rooted sense of loyalty that takes hold not because of trophies but as a consequence of the area the club represents.
What could be purer than that?