Penalty heartbreak? I know how England feel, says Jose Mourinho
As the most successful coach of the last decade, and one whose preparation is such he even plans press conferences, it might be expected that Jose Mourinho would have a solution to England’s problem with penalties.
However, when it comes to spot-kick shoot-outs the Chelsea manager’s record is as bad as England’s.
He has lost twice in the Champions League semi-final, to Liverpool with Chelsea and Bayern Munich with Real Madrid.
He lost the European Super Cup last September with Chelsea against Bayern Munich. His only home defeat in his first spell at Chelsea, to Charlton Athletic, in the Football League Cup, was on penalties.
When asked about penalties he groans, gestures, and exclaims, almost despairingly.
“Don’t speak about penalties with me, because I always lose with penalties,” said Mourinho.
“The only time I won was the [Italian] Super Cup [with Internazionale in 2008].
“We beat Roma on penalties and imagine how lucky I was — [Francesco] Totti missed the penalty! I have lost so many times and I did everything: the team practiced, the team did not practice; I analysed opponents for years — the percentage of where they take the penalties, percentage of where the goalkeeper goes or not goes; and I don’t do this, I do it by instinct. We did everything we could do.”
Mourinho points towards the heavens and adds: “Final conclusion is, what He wants.
“With Real Madrid I didn’t win the Champions League because [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Kaka, Sergio Ramos — they miss the penalty. It was not somebody that didn’t
want to take the penalty, it was not somebody that was shaking because, ‘I don’t want to go and I never took a penalty in my life and the boss told me to go’.
“No, it was the three best penalty-takers, they come to me and they say, ‘I want to be the first,’ ‘I want to be the second,’ ‘I want to be the third’. ‘OK, go’. They all miss!
“That’s why I didn’t win the Champions League with Real Madrid. With Chelsea, against Liverpool, we had everything organised: ‘this guy is the first, this guy is the second, this guy is the third’; boom-boom-boom.
“The best penalty-taker all season in training, never missed a penalty, amazing, was Geremi.
“So 10 minutes before the end of the game I put on Geremi for the penalties. Geremi goes there — miss. One that was not on the list was [Arjen] Robben and Robben comes to me and tells me, ‘I’m not on the list. I take No 1, 100% it is a goal’. OK, I let him go No 1. Miss! Nothing you can do, man, nothing.
“I keep saying I am going to win a competition on penalties, a big one. One day.”
Meanwhile, legendary England and Derby County goalkeeper Peter Shilton believes there is no reason for Roy Hodgson’s men to fear penalties.
Shilton said: “Roy Hodgson has been working very closely with sports psychologists and I don’t see why we can’t win a match on penalties. We do seem to have formed a bit of a complex about it over the years. The mental attitude needs to be right.
“England’s Under-17s have just won a tournament on penalties, so maybe the tide is turning.
“We just need to make sure we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot.”
On the humid conditions, Shilton added: “The conditions in Brazil will be very gruelling.
“They will be similar to when I played for England at the World Cup in Mexico and also when I played in Spain in 1982.
“The conditions won’t be ideal for England’s first game in Brazil (against Italy) but the players will have to cope. Roy will train the players lightly so as not to tire them out.”