The Portuguese coach shocked Europe with a young Porto side in 2004, and then won it again with Inter’s veterans six years later – now he’s hoping to repeat those feats with United, starting against Sevilla in the last 16 on Wednesday.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, he explained: ‘I won with Porto and Porto was a very young team, a very inexperienced team at this level with so many players playing Champions League for the first time in their careers.
‘Then I won with Inter which was exactly the opposite. It was a team with lots of players over 30, lots of players with great experience in high-level football but not successful until then.
‘I think this squad is more in the middle of it. We have some players with previous experience, we have some others without experience. But I think in the end I normally say that Champions League dreams they start around the quarter-finals, and not yet in the last 16.
‘The last 16 it still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals then I think it’s the moment where even the teams who are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.
‘But for now I think we just have to focus on a very difficult opponent and in a first match of these two knockouts, a match that doesn’t decide anything but is very important.’
He later added: ‘As I told before, any team that reach the quarter-finals has a chance. I never thought I was going to win with Inter or Porto before the quarter-finals.
‘But then you have the feeling that anything can happen. When you reach the quarter-finals is when any team can feel that anything can happen. This step of going from 16 teams to eight is always an important step.’
More: Manchester United FC