By Aidan Elder | Chief sports writer
You can probably still remember it.
Fists clenched, legs pumping, the end of his dapper jacket flapping in the wind as he ran down the sideline of the Old Trafford pitch. The Porto players piled upon each other in the corner, their manager’s speed and eagerness to join them hampered by his own insistence on sartorial elegance.
The Manchester United fans were silent after what appeared to be routine progress to the next round was halted by a last-minute wobble from Tim Howard and a tapped in rebound from Costinha.
He’d been on the radar for a while, but this was the moment when Jose Mourinho truly gate-crashed his way into the consciousness of the wider football public.
The Special One has always had a fondness for Old Trafford. In between insulting referees and generally being ungracious in defeat, he spoke fondly of sharing bottles of win with Sir Alex Ferguson in his office. No matter which club Mourinho was managing at the time, he had a knack for putting out teams capable of frustrating his Scottish counterpart.
On account of some big wins, there may be an impression the Jose largely gets things his own way on United’s turf. But is that really the case? As Mourinho brings his Chelsea team to United’s patch for the first time of his second spell in charge, the Paddy Power Blog has dug through the stats to assess Mourinho’s supposed mastery of the venue.
Ironically, the most famous image of Jose celebrating was actually just to secure a draw. Granted it was a draw that shocked United and moved Porto into the quarter-finals of the Champions League they eventually went on to win, but it doesn’t get counted in the ‘wins’ section. Still though, Jose has three Old Trafford wins to his name – two while Chelsea ruled the roost and one more recently when Real Madrid took advantage of a ridiculous/perfectly reasonable [DELETE AS APPROPRIATE] red card for Nani.
Unfortunately not all draws at Old Trafford ended with up with a fist pumping knee-slide that infuriated Mourinho’s dry cleaner. There were a couple of 1-1 stalemates while he was at Chelsea but they are about as memorable as the last season of Big Brother.
There’s been a fair few defeats along the way, albeit ones that are less memorable than the wins. Darren Fletcher scored a header from an angle that re-wrote physics against Chelsea and The Special One’s Inter Milan side were then outclassed in 2009 but there were no wild celebrations from Sir Alex.
Mourinho’s record at Old Trafford isn’t as special as he’d like, but it’s far from disappointing. An optimist would say he avoids defeat there 66 per cent of the time which sounds mighty appealing. A pessimist would point out he wins there just 33 per cent of the time, which takes some shine off his beaming smile.
Whichever way you look at it, we’re expecting something special.