Sunday, 4 April 2010

Jose Mourinho: The Special One

The Man

Arguments again have arisen amongst football fans regarding the best 3 managers in the world, while I’m hearing names such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola, I believe Jose Mourinho should be in place of the Spaniard, although I respect Guardiola’s excellence with Barcelona, Mourinho’s ethics and impact on the game as a whole cannot be discounted.

The man with a degree in physical education, specialising in football methodology, worked many minor jobs before working his way to becoming the late great Bobby Robson’s apprentice, and subsequent assistant manager, at both FC Porto and FC Barcelona respectively in the mid 90’s. Motivational skills from Robson, and the added influence of Dutch tactician Louis van Gaal’s defensive mentality, preparation techniques and strategy, helped drive Mourinho’s appetite for management. In the year 2000, he got his first management job at Portuguese giants Benfica, but only lasted 9 months, before leaving to joining mid-table team Uniao de Leiria.


After one year with Uniao de Leiria, which saw him take the side to their best ever finish in the Portuguese top flight history, finishing in 5th place at the end of the 2000-2001 season, caught the eye of the biggest side in Portugal, FC Porto. Near enough everyone in World football knows the success he had at the club, but here’s what truly showcased his abilities. When he joined in 2002, in his 1st full season he took the club to a Portuguese Liga Title with a record 86 points, along with collecting the Portuguese Cup to complete a domestic double. In addition, Porto conquered the Europe, winning the UEFA Cup, beating Celtic 3-2 in the final, after extra time; achieving the “treble” in his first season with the club.

In his second season in Portugal, he continued his brilliant success, regaining the Portuguese Liga title, while ending as runners-up in both the European Super Cup, losing to Andriy Shevchenko’s AC Milan, and Portuguese Cup, losing to rivals Benfica. But the truly amazing performance came in the Champions League, whereby the much unfancied Porto won the trophy, destroying AS Monaco in the final 3-0. On route to the final, Mourinho’s side beat the likes of Deportivo, Lyon and Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.

Players become synonymous with teams, for example Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is known for players such as Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas, Alex Ferguson with Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, but it is dually noticed that Mourinho’s Porto side consisted of some of the best and relatively unknown players in Europe, with the likes of Benni McCarthy, Deco, Vitor Baia, Ricardo Carvalho, Derlei, Carlos Alberto, Maniche, Costinha all going on to play for many different successful clubs.

West London

After the final victory, it seemed the lure of the big European clubs was too much and English money machine Chelsea were the club of choice the coach who had took FC Porto to back to back league and European titles in just two seasons. Joining Chelsea in the summer of 2004, he aptly named himself “the special one”, the media followed, and the rest as they say; was history.

He immediately transferred Chelsea into a World Class side, taking them to their 1st ever Premiership title and 1st league title in 50 years, breaking all sorts of records in the process. The side collected the record of most Premiership points of 95, fewest number of goals conceded, 15, highest number of league wins, 29, and most clean sheets in a season with 25. In his second season at the club, as if a form of Marmite; people either hated him or loved him! he regained the Premiership, making it Chelsea’s 2nd title. He also helped Chelsea maintain an unbeaten home record (at 60 games when he left the club) that ended in 2008 with an astonishing 86 games.

In his time at the club he finalized the successful signings of the likes of Ricardo Carvalho, Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Ashley Cole and Michael Ballack. The relatively average signings of Paulo Ferreira, Arjen Robben, and Shaun Wright-Phillips, and the poor signings of Tiago Mendes, Scott Parker, Mateja Kezman and of course Andriy Shevchenko. However Chelsea collected the 2005 Carling Cup, 2007 Carling Cup and 2007 FA Cup, while Mourinho left the club by mutual consent 2 months into the 2007/08 season.

New Beginnings

After a year away from the game, in the summer of 2008, Mourinho returned to football replacing Roberto Mancini as manager of Serie A Champions Inter Milan. He signed the likes of Sulley Muntari, Samuel Eto’o, Diego Milito and Wesley Sneijder, getting rid of Adriano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hernan Crespo and Julio Cruz, while losing Luis Figo to retirement. He guided them to the Serie A title for the 17th time, tying in second with rival AC Milan in the history books, and they also picked up the Super cup. This season they look on course for another title and a Champion’s League semi-final, as they knocked out former side Chelsea on route.

Should he be considered as one of the best managers in the World? Unquestionable. He has revolutionised the game with his methods, and ability. Known for his confidence (sometimes regarded as arrogance), attention to detail, psychological influence and winning mentality, he has amassed one of the best records in Europe. With his unforgettable quotes, and success he has been touted as a future Real Madrid, Manchester United or even Arsenal manager in the near future. No matter what the case he is definitely a manager, who is respected throughout the game, in which fellow professionals will look to emulate, and is one of the most sought after managers in the World.

No comments:

Post a Comment