Manchester United fans were first introduced to Jose Mourinho in the Champions League during the 2003-2004 season. Following the wrongful ruling out of a Paul Scholes goal, Mourinho’s Porto progressed to the next round after a late goal. They were entirely defensive in both legs, diving and cheating their way through. Credit to them, it worked, but it certainly wasn’t kind on the eye.
In Mourinho’s first game in charge of Chelsea, he beat a weakened United side at Stamford Bridge. Whilst United dominated in terms of possession and chances, Chelsea defended like the away team, and came away with three points because of it.
Three years later, finishing his last season in charge in second place, after Sir Alex Ferguson lead United out of their supposed ‘decline’ Mourinho was sacked. Yet for some reason, despite his dull, uninspired tactics, there are United fans who’d like to see him take over from Ferguson, and it seems that Mourinho is maybe thinking the same thing.
“I’m in love with the English league and I’ll definitely return one day,” Mourinho said. “I think that’s what I want to do after Inter. Everyone says I want to go to Spain or I want to be the coach of my national team. It’s not true. I want to return to England after Inter. But I have a contract with Inter and I’m happy here.”
What did Mourinho do with his time at Chelsea? He lead the team which was built by Ranieri, that had finished 2nd in the league and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, to title wins when their competition was poor. United, Arsenal and Liverpool weren’t up to much at all for those two seasons (United finished the season in 3rd with 77 points in 2005, 6 fewer points than Arsenal finished with in 3rd in 2008. United finished the season in 2nd with 83 points in 2006, again, less than 2nd placed Chelsea in 2008), and whilst credit must go to him and his team for winning the league, Avram Grant had a much more difficult job to do last season, and he took the title down to the last day and reached the European Cup final. Do we want Avram Grant as the next manager then?
I came across the match report of Mourinho’s first match in charge from The Guardian:
Only Chelsea supporters could have sat rapt in the Stamford Bridge lecture room. They appreciated the meticulousness of a side that adopted a defensive stance for most of the afternoon. The team may have won by the same score on the last meeting of these clubs at this ground but everything has changed utterly.
While Claudio Ranieri would consider a fixture wasted if he could not insinuate some eccentricity into it, his successor Jose Mourinho is wedded to practicality. His triumphant Porto side could come up with flourishes in the midst of their conservatism and Chelsea will surely do likewise eventually.
That just about sums it up for Mourinho. His teams are efficient and hard-working, but were they ever thrilling or exciting to watch? Scolari has just started with Chelsea, but did you ever see a Mourinho team play as well as Chelsea are this season? Already the Brazilian has got the rent boys playing the kind of football you don’t mind watching. Under Mourinho, they were dull. Effective, certainly, but boring and lifeless. Yet this is the man some people want to see replace Ferguson?
I can only hope that Mourinho has got his eye on Liverpool, not fancying the chances of Rafa Benitez making it through another couple of years without a title challenge (yes, yes, I can see where they are in the table now, but their opposition isn’t going to get a man sent off to allow them to come from behind every week of the season). I’d like this too, then we could really hate Mourinho.
He was a man I liked to begin with, the ‘breath of fresh air’ the Premiership needed, but between his lies and low rent behaviour, the air became rancid and stale. The football his teams play is not good enough for United, simple as that. The players he buys (unless the top players around Europe who all big teams were after, but Chelsea could afford to outbid everyone on e.g. Michael Essien, Michael Ballack etc.) are not good enough for United, simple as that. I don’t want the likes of Ben Haim, Sidwell, Boulahrouz, Kezman, Ferreira, Pizzaro etc. at United! You might say Fergie has made his errors in the transfer market, which he has, but nothing close to scale we’re working with when looking at Mourinho. Don’t forget he was there for just three years! Mourinho’s total spending was £225.76 million, yet in his last season, when he should have created something close to the perfect squad, they were eight points behind United on the day the title was won.
He’s not special, he never was, and he certainly isn’t capable of taking on the job at United!
Would you have Mourinho as United manager?
Made in Manchester is available for just £3. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.