Mourinho has mentored several future managers; Brendan Rodgers, Aitor Karanka and Andre Villas-Boas among them. But he has always insisted his long-time assistant Rui Faria rated above them all.If one day I have to speak about disciples, the real one is the one that has been with me since 2000,’ he said shortly after taking over at Manchester United.
‘The one I really feel thinks like me, is adapted to my way of coaching, the one with most similarities to me, even in terms of personality.For the first time since the turn of the century, Mourinho has had to work without his closest comrade and confidante this season, Faria leaving United and his long-time boss in the summer after almost 20 years of unprecedented success at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
The reasons are still mysterious – though Faria’s camp insist it was nothing other than a need to have a break and one day become a manager in his own right – but the impact is clear. Mourinho looks lost, isolated and nervy without his mate.Watching Faria over the years was like often like witnessing a perfect mini-me Mourinho.