'Mourinho needs an enemy to attack – sometimes he invents his own'

The controversial Portuguese manager has been involved in several feuds throughout his career and the former Inter striker believes they are necessary to his style

Former Inter striker Diego Milito says Jose Mourinho needs an enemy to attack and even “invents” his own because thrives on conflict.

New Manchester United manager Mourinho will go head-to-head with old foe Pep Guardiola, now in charge of Manchester City, in the Premier League next season, and took aim at predecessor Louis van Gaal and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger this week as he got to work at Old Trafford.

Milito, who fired Inter to Champions League glory in 2010 under the leadership of Mourinho, believes the Portuguese is deliberately antagonistic towards his opponents.

“Sometimes he invents enemies himself on purpose,” the retired forward said. “Guardiola included, just go and ask Pep.

“Mourinho is a great leader of groups, we are talking about a coach of the highest level in the world. He makes sure that every player gives 100 per cent, has the right word at the right moment and can be punishing when necessary.
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“He knows how to protect his team and always needs an enemy to be able to attack or defend his squad.”

Milito added he thinks Mourinho’s treble-winning Inter team deserved more praise, with the club only winning one Coppa Italia and the FIFA Club World Cup in the six seasons since that triumph.

“In that Champions League, we eliminated the best Barcelona side of all time and then beat Bayern Munich in the final,” Milito said. “However, a lot of people still criticised us.

“When we went to Barcelona, they accused us of being defensive even though we played with four strikers. Further, [Goran] Pandev was injured in the warm-up and Thiago Motta was sent off.

“We need to take everything into consideration. The media have focused on the Guardiola-Mourinho aspect and have not given enough praise to what we did as a team.”