Jose Mourinho warns that Euro 2024 flops who ‘didn’t smell good’ could shine at next World Cup

Steven Chicken
Jose Mourinho looks a bit confused for no discernible reasons
Jose Mourinho had mixed feelings about Portugal and Turkey

Fenerbahce boss Jose Mourinho admits that seeing Turkey and Portugal both exit Euro 2024 at the quarter-final stage provoked very mixed emotions from him…for entirely conflicting reasons.

Mourinho’s native country were tipped by some pundits and journalists to have a strong shout of going the distance this summer with experienced heads Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe supplemented by some very talented up-and-comers who have been touted as potential summer targets for some of European football’s heavy hitters.

But Portugal failed to impress, needing an own goal and an injury time winner to come back from behind to beat the Czech Republic, losing to Georgia, eking past Slovenia on penalties in the round of 16 and then going out via the same means against a similarly lacklustre France.

The one true bright spot for Portugal was their 3-0 win over an otherwise impressive Turkey in the second of their three group games – and five of his Fenerbahce players in the Turkey squad, Mourinho admitted their run to the quarter-finals posed him a bit of an issue by cutting into his pre-season time with some of his key players.

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Mourinho: ‘Spain are the big surprise of Euro 2024’

He told Sport TV: “I watched them with reason and from a professional perspective. Every time Turkey won it was a problem for me, and every time Portugal won it was a joy.”

Portugal’s failure to make it past the quarter-finals was difficult for Mourinho to watch, though. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid boss added: “There is always frustration when you feel that you could do better. The team’s potential was extremely high.

“I wasn’t far off the mark when I said that Portugal, France and England were the favourites. Two of them are in the semi-finals. Spain is the biggest surprise for me, in the way the team has evolved, they are practically a new team. For me, at the moment, they are the team that plays the best and the one that has played the best throughout the tournament.

“Portugal weren’t fantastic, despite reaching the quarter-finals…we expected more. I was at the National Stadium [in Lisbon] for the Portugal-Croatia [pre-tournament friendly] match and it didn’t smell good. I didn’t get a great feeling.

“During the tournament we were the team that was making progress, but we weren’t convincing. Often, when the moment of truth comes, these teams are stronger. This wasn’t the end of Portugal, there wasn’t any improvement in the team.

“But it’s a young team, apart from the two veterans, a team with years ahead of them. The World Cup is just around the corner.”