Chelsea FC manager José Mourinho has tipped the US national team as a dark-horse upset contender at this summer's World Cup, even in spite of a player pool which is “not incredibly talented.”
The chronically successful – and famously outspoken – coach has joined Yahoo Sports' World Cup coverage team, and he offered up some intriguing perspectives on MLS, the USMNT and coach Jurgen Klinsmann in a video released on Thursday.
“I see the American team – obviously not with incredible talent, but they have some good players, some good players playing in Europe and some good players in MLS – that is coming up day by day,” said the Portuguese-born Mourinho.
“So I think they are ready to create problems, like they create problems to Portugal because they beat us in another World Cup before in .”
Mourinho has spoken before of his plans to someday coach the Portuguese national team that the US will face in their second group-stage match at Brazil 2014, and even alluded to hopes of concluding his managerial career in MLS.
His evaluation of the USMNT's recent leadership suggests that he's keeping an eye on what's unfolding on this side of the Atlantic.
“I know Jurgen well," Mourinho said. "And also Bob Bradley, the previous coach, very very well. I think in between them, they made a very good team. I think Bob made magnificent work. When he left and Jurgen come, I like Jurgen very much as a national coach.
“I think after Bob, Jurgen was the right guy.”
Klinsmann's biggest fans might wonder if Mourinho is damning the German icon with faint praise, however, given his oblique reference to Klinsmann's star-crossed stint as the manager of current European champions Bayern Munich.
“I think he's the kind of guy with a good mentality to be a national coach. The national coach is different than the club coach,” continued the two-time UEFA Champions League winner, dubbed “The Special One” by the English media. “A club coach must have some qualities that the national coach doesn't need. And as a national coach, I feel Jurgen is very good. Very organized, a great motivator, the players they like to play for him.
“And it's important for a club player to go to the national team and feel happy to be there, feel happy to play with another manager that is not the manager that he works [with] every day. And the players like to play for him, the players like to train with him. He tries to make them happy, to have some good training sessions, to prepare them well, physically, mentally.”