I have been very vocal on the reasons why Jose Mourinho should never be manager of Manchester United. Whilst there’s no denying that he is a big character, and that is something you would imagine the man to replace Sir Alex Ferguson might have to be, and that he has had lots of success in his short career, there are too many failings with him.
It is important to note that Mourinho has only ever been a success in the short-term after being given a great team. Porto were second in the league by one point the year before he was given the job and he only won the European Cup thanks to a dreadful, match-defining decision at Old Trafford, before going on the easiest run I can think of in the remaining games. He then got the job at Chelsea, who had finished 2nd in the league and reached the European Cup semi-finals the season before. After two years of success and ridiculous sums of money spent in the transfer market, Chelsea then dropped to 2nd in the table and were 7 points behind the Champions on the day the title was won, a few games before the end of the season. He then got the job at Inter, who were already Champions, and he kept them as Champions in the first season, despite losing more games and picking up fewer points. They are currently top of the table by two points, although even if they win their remaining game, will not reach the points total of last season or the season before he took the job, with them steadily declining every year.
There is then Mourinho’s inability to bring through youth, a tradition Manchester United prides itself upon. From the ‘Busby Babes’ to the ‘Fergie Fledglings’, United should always strive to have a base of homegrown players who know all about the importance of playing for this club. There is no evidence to suggest Mourinho has any idea how to bring through young players in the squad because he has never done it before.
“I would hate for anyone to take this the wrong way but I don’t see him here,” said Sir Bobby Charlton. “He’s got a talent but maybe if he ever came here the philosophy of youth football might never be the same again.”
Then there is Mourinho’s style of football, which intends to neutralise the opponents rather than to attack them. I’ve heard people say things like “Well, Jose would have to play attacking football if he came to United.” Why? He’ll play whatever football he wants if he is the manager but more importantly, if he was forced in to playing the United way, there is no evidence to suggest he would have a clue how to do it. He has managed three teams and all three have them have played in the same way, and that way is different to United.
“Attacking football is a vital part of the club’s heritage,” said Bryan Robson. “For me, Jose Mourinho is too cautious in his approach to the game to be manager.”
The most important points can be grouped together though, and they are his total lack of class as well as his failings in the transfer market.
“It’s certainly not my fault if, in 2004 after coming to Chelsea and asking why Ranieri was replaced, I was told they wanted to win and it was never going to happen with him,” said Mourinho last week. “It is really not my fault if he was considered a loser at Chelsea.”
Now, it’s clear Ranieri and Mourinho aren’t the best of friends, with Roma and Inter fighting it out for the title, so maybe Ranieri said something to wind Mourinho up, so that is why he’s lashed out? Unfortunately, not.
The origin of this spat is because Mourinho claimed that Roma had the cash to pay Siena off in the final game of the season to beat Inter Milan. These scandalous comments have been referred to Italian Football Federation’s disciplinary commission, although Ranieri, dignified as ever, responded to what Mourinho had said. “This is not the kind of football I like,” he said. “I’m different, as I like respect and I give respect. Sport is an important vehicle for Italian society. Behaving like this is launching ticking time bombs. I am a man of sport and I like football. Is Mourinho a phenomenon? It is the media that gives him that aura. For me he is a good coach and I won’t add anything more.”
Clearly Mourinho didn’t like his “phenomenon” status being questioned so branded Ranieri a loser. In any circumstance, this wouldn’t be acceptable. It wasn’t acceptable when Mourinho launched an attack against a lad young enough to be his son, when he went to the media with comments about Cristiano Ronaldo’s “difficult childhood” and having “no education”. But it is even less acceptable to try and belittle, demean and embarrass Ranieri, given that without him, there is no way Mourinho would have had success at Chelsea.
The stats below show the group of players Mourinho inherited, alongside his own purchases, and how many appearances they made in the three seasons he was at the club.
2004-2005 – Champions, 95 points
(35) Petr Čech – Ranieri
(16) Glen Johnson – Ranieri
(4) Celestine Babayaro – Gullit
(36) Claude Makélélé – Ranieri
(16) Alexey Smertin – Ranieri
(25) Ricardo Carvalho – Mourinho
(38) Frank Lampard – Ranieri
(24) Mateja Kežman – Mourinho
(28) Joe Cole – Ranieri
(30) Damien Duff – Ranieri
(28) William Gallas – Ranieri
(13) Geremi – Ranieri
(26) Didier Drogba – Mourinho
(18) Arjen Robben – Ranieri
(15) Wayne Bridge – Ranieri
(4) Scott Parker – Ranieri
(29) Paulo Ferreira – Mourinho
(37) Eiður Guðjohnsen – Vialli
(36) John Terry – became a first team regular in Ranieri’s first season
(14) Jiří Jarošík – Mourinho
(10) Robert Huth – Ranieri
(29) Tiago – Mourinho
(3) Carlo Cudicini – Ranieri
Mourinho’s signings – 147 appearances (29%)
Ranieri’s signings – 326 appearances (63%)
Other signings – 41 appearance (8%)
2005-2006 – Champions, 91 points
(34) Petr Čech – Ranieri
(4) Glen Johnson – Ranieri
(25) Asier del Horno – Mourinho
(31) Claude Makélélé – Ranieri
(31) Michael Essien – Mourinho
(24) Ricardo Carvalho – Mourinho
(8) Maniche – Mourinho
(35) Frank Lampard – Ranieri
(30) Hernán Crespo – Ranieri
(34) Joe Cole – Ranieri
(28) Damien Duff – Ranieri
(9) Carlton Cole – Mourinho
(34) William Gallas – Ranieri
(15) Geremi – Ranieri
(29) Didier Drogba – Mourinho
(28) Arjen Robben – Ranieri
(3) Lassana Diarra – Mourinho
(21) Paulo Ferreira – Mourinho
(26) Eiður Guðjohnsen – Vialli
(27) Shaun Wright-Phillips – Mourinho
(36) John Terry – Ranieri
(13) Robert Huth – Ranieri
(4) Carlo Cudicini – Ranieri
Mourinho’s signings – 177 appearances (33%)
Ranieri’s signings – 326 appearances (60%)
Other signings – 41 appearance (7%)
2006-2007 – 2nd, 83 points.
(20) Petr Čech – Ranieri
(23) Ashley Cole – Mourinho
(29) Claude Makélélé – Ranieri
(33) Michael Essien – Mourinho
(31) Ricardo Carvalho – Mourinho
(30) Andriy Shevchenko – Mourinho
(37) Frank Lampard – Ranieri
(13) Khalid Boulahrouz – Mourinho
(10) Joe Cole – Ranieri
(36) Didier Drogba – Mourinho
(22) John Obi Mikel – Mourinho
(26) Michael Ballack – Mourinho
(19) Geremi – Ranieri
(21) Arjen Robben – Ranieri
(22) Wayne Bridge – Ranieri
(10) Lassana Diarra – Mourinho
(24) Paulo Ferreira – Mourinho
(33) Salomon Kalou – Mourinho
(8) Carlo Cudicini – Ranieri
(27) Shaun Wright-Phillips – Mourinho
(28) John Terry – Ranieri
(11) Henrique Hilário – Mourinho
Mourinho’s signings – 319 appearances (62%)
Ranieri’s signings – 194 appearances (38%)
In Mourinho’s first season, Chelsea made the step up from 2nd with Ranieri, who had just one year of Roman Abromovich’s cash, to being Champions. 63% of the players contributing to that were Ranieri’s purchases, with just 29% of them being Mourinho’s.
In Mourinho’s second season, Chelsea were again Champions, although lost 4 more matches and obviously collected fewer points. Jose spent another vast sum of money on players but still 60% of the appearances were by Ranieri’s players and 33% by those he’d bought.
In Mourinho’s third season, Chelsea dropped to 2nd in the league and were 7 points behind United on the day the title was won. What was the big change? Well now, 62% of the appearances were made by Mourinho’s signings, and just 38% by Ranieri’s signings.
So, what does this tell us? The more players he bought, the worse Chelsea got. Not only is Mourinho useless in the transfer market, something we simply cannot afford given our financial difficulties, but that Mourinho has no class or appreciation whatsoever. Without Ranieri building that great Chelsea squad, there is no way Mourinho would have won the league, which is proven by how quickly Chelsea declined once the squad was made up by a majority of his players.
“I’m privileged to have followed Sir Matt because all you have to do is to try and maintain the standards that he set so many years ago.” There’s only one Sir Alex Ferguson, but surely there are other managers with his mentality, his modesty and his respect, who would replace him and thank him for doing such a great job and leaving such a great foundation.
Not a manager like Mourinho, who bathes in the adoration and takes all the praise for himself. Let’s not forget, Ranieri got Chelsea to their first European Cup semi-final, and that is something Mourinho could not better in his time at Chelsea, despite the vast amounts of money he spent. Can you imagine what kind of squad and how many trophies Ranieri could have won if he had more than one summer of spending? From a United perspective, thankfully he was never given the opportunity, otherwise it’s hard to imagine we would have won the league for the past three years.
Mourinho recently enjoyed a brilliant success of knocking current holders, Barcelona, out of the European Cup. Despite the fact that yet again it was down to a dodgy decision, Inter Milan really did fight hard at the Nou Camp. They went down to ten men and pulled together and worked their arses off. But whose face was it all over the papers the following day? Was it Lucio, or Maicon, or Cambiasso, or Walter Samuel, or Cristian Chivu? The players who had given every ounce of their being to keep Barcelona out? Course not. It was Jose fucking Mourinho, as he grabbed the attention of the cameras away from his players and on to himself, as he charged on to the pitch. In The Telegraph, their opening seven paragraphs were dedicated to Mourinho. The same can be said of the match report in The Daily Mail, The New York Times, The Sun, ESPN, The Express and probably any other media source that talked about the game.
Is that what you want whenever our players achieve anything, for it to be all about Mourinho? Chelsea fans used to tell us the reason why his face was always in the papers was because he was taking pressure off his players. I always said it was because he was a media whore who loved himself more than he would ever love any team. But if the Chelsea fans were right, why on a night of celebration, not pressure, was it Mourinho grabbing the headlines? He couldn’t resist running on to the field and making a spectacle of himself, at the cost of his players getting the limelight they so clearly deserved. Over the past couple of seasons, with United beating Barcelona and Arsenal in the European Cup semi-finals and Chelsea in the final, the papers were full of praise for our players. It was Scholes’ celebration at Old Trafford all over the back pages, it was captain Rio Ferdinand grabbing Cristiano Ronaldo at the Emirates, it was our players running to celebrate with Edwin Van der Sar at the Luzhniki in Moscow. Sir Alex Ferguson was quite happy to step back and let our players enjoy the success they had earned. But wherever Jose manages, it will always be The Mourinho Show, and as fans, we should surely expect more from our club.
An argument is being put forward that there is no one out there better for the job, but our own manager tried to distance Mourinho from the United job this weekend when asked about TNSSO replacing him.
“You can talk about the successful managers right now who might be on everyone’s list but, in two years, they may not be – or even next year,” he said, “so it’s difficult to say who would replace me when the time came. Manchester United would need somebody successful for that kind of job. Most clubs would look for the most successful manager on the horizon, but two years ahead, they may not be successful anymore.”
It’s true. In 2004 we were told Chelsea were going to dominate world football for the next two decades, with Mourinho at the helm. Three years later he was sacked, Chelsea have still yet to do anything in Europe and have gone three years without the title. Just because there isn’t a wealth of top managers about at the moment it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t open our eyes to what might be around the corner. Laurent Blanc has made a good start to his career, albeit with a few blips, whilst Pep Guardiola has been incredible.
In conclusion, is Mourinho honestly the type of man you want in charge of United, regardless of the trophies he has won in the past, and could win with United? We’re not Chelsea or Manchester City, a club who has waited so long for any real success so will take it whatever way they find it, or buy it. We are United so surely we should have higher standards than just winning, however we have to do it. We shouldn’t have to settle for a manager who plays boring football, who is poor in the transfer market, who has no interest in bringing youth through, who will always be more important than our players and who has no class whatsoever. Whoever gets the job, and Ferguson keeps telling us that won’t be for a while yet, should be a better person than Mourinho.
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.