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Thursday, November 22, 2012
Mourinho backs Chelsea boss Benitez

ESPN staff

Jose Mourinho has thrown his support behind incumbent Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez, expressing a passion for his former club.

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Real Madrid ensured their qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Wednesday and Mourinho was asked about the managerial change at Chelsea following the match.

The Real boss conceded it can be a struggle for all managers to see a counterpart dismissed, but he has backed Benitez to succeed.

"I'm never happy when a manager is sacked - never, because it happens to them and it can happen to me," Mourinho said. "I'm never happy and I never enjoy it for him. I always feel sorry for him and his family because our lives are very, very similar.

"But everybody knows I like my old teams. I like Chelsea, Inter, Porto. I like my old clubs to win, so I always wish good to the managers of my former clubs. So I wish good to benitez."

After criticising City's European record before the match, Mourinho continued to taunt the English champions who were knocked out of the Champions League.

"When you look at the array of players they have, it is amazing that they have been eliminated at the group stage for two years running," he said. "They had thousands of attacking options, limitless options and we had just ten men, but we held on.

"We knew we had to control the game. You can't play to win when it's 11 v 10, but we held on and achieved our objective."

Mancini's position at City is seemingly safe, which Mourinho believes is a good sign of the club's objectives.

"I think that's good [that the club supports him]," Mourinho said. "I think a club must support its manager the maximum they can until the last day when they decide to make a change.

"We cannot complain. We have to carry on, but until the last day, I admire that the clubs support the manager.

"City is out of Champions League, but Madrid and Dortmund are very good teams and we knew with this group from the beginning that a good team would be out.

"It is good that it is City eliminated because Roberto can work without any problems. If it was me, the press would not let me return to Madrid."

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