Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has hailed the impact of supporters in the stadium ahead of this weekend’s Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea.
The two Premier League sides clash in Porto in pursuit of the biggest honour in European football, with the tie being played in front of 16,500 supporters.
Following a campaign where fans have been unable to attend matches due to the continued coronavirus pandemic, the return of fans for a European final could play a huge impact in the match.
Mourinho believes that the game is entirely different when played without supporters in attendance, adding that there are matches in his career that he feels were won due to the presence of supporters.
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“People play with everything they have, and when the stadiums were full, the home crowds, they played incredible. Incredibly well for their home teams. And that is also very, very important. I believe that these last couple of seasons without fans, this power of the fans, the fans playing football with their teams didn’t happen. Didn’t happen anymore, so it becomes more a football match just on the grass. But football is much more than that. Football is with the people in the stands playing with their players, and we miss that,” he said in an interview with Mastercard.
“To win these competitions, you have to be a great team. You must have the feeling of even when they [fans] are not there, they are playing with you.
“When you are playing for example in Barcelona with 79,000 Barcelona fans and one of your, 1000 of your fans – you cannot play like there are 1000. You have to think about the ones that are at home and they couldn’t travel, and they don’t have conditions to travel, they don’t have tickets to go to the stadium…you have to play with them.
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“To bring the emotion of the fans into the game, into the equation, you can only become stronger. I truly believe in the power of the fans. I even use the expression of ‘they don’t support, they don’t push, they play’. And I had so many matches where I felt I won because they played.
“You know, with fans you feel more energised for sure. From the fans, that passion, that noise, that energy, that pressure. Even away, even…fans from other clubs, these antagonism…of course we need that.”
Both clubs have been allocated a total of 6,000 tickets for the final, although Chelsea have returned 800 unsold tickets to UEFA.