Jose Mourinho's Cristiano Ronaldo tactic during 2007 FA Cup Final

Shaun Wright-Phillips has lifted the lid on the task given to him ahead of the 2007 FA Cup final by then-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.

The Blues faced Manchester United in the showpiece that year after finishing second to the Red Devils in the Premier League.

Going into the match, the focus was on 22-year-old winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who was continuing to go from strength to strength and had registered a remarkable 23 goals and 21 assists that season.

As a worrying omen, Ronaldo had also scored in each of his last three FA Cup matches – prompting Mourinho to give Wright-Phillips some bespoke tactics on how to deal with the Portuguese.

Mourinho had an idea of how to deal with Ronaldo

“Through the week leading up to it, obviously we did all the tactical work and build-up play towards it,” the former England winger told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“But he [Mourinho] spoke to me and he pulled me aside and he said, ‘look, if you do start or you do play we need a different job from you in that game.’

“Because if I remember correctly, Ronaldo was still at United… so he had been on fire for a few years.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United looks dejected following defeat in the FA Cup Final match sponsored by E.ON between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 19, 2007 in London, England.
Wright-Phillips helped neutralise the threat of Ronaldo

“And he [Mourinho] basically said, ‘we need you to focus more on defending and keep him quiet, and if you do that right, the chances are we win the game.'”

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Mourinho’s tactics paid off and Wright-Phillips, fielded on the right wing, helped neutralise the threat of his opposite number Ronaldo as Chelsea emerged 1-0 victors thanks to a Didier Drogba goal in extra time.

For the Manchester City academy product, playing a more defensive role was a sacrifice worth making to lift the FA Cup.

Wright-Phillips added: “So I basically just attacked when I could get the chance but my main focus was on helping my full-back and it was weird going into a game with a more defensive mindframe than attacking mindframe.

“But at the end of the day, sometimes you have to sacrifice what you do best for the good of the team and it benefited us and we came away with the win.

“So for me, sometimes you got to get on with it and dig deep.”

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