Rumour has it that Louis van Gaal has got one game to save his career and, if he is sacked, Jose Mourinho might end up getting the job he has always wanted.
Before looking at the reasons why he shouldn’t get the job, read about why Mourinho should get the job.
Style of play
Three weeks ago, Manchester United were one point off the top of the table, yet our fans weren’t happy. Why? Because the football Louis van Gaal plays is boring. There is very little creativity or freedom to attack in the team. So, even when United were in a great position to fight for the title, there were plenty of supporters calling for Van Gaal to go. Winning football and attacking football don’t have to be mutually exclusive, so United should find a manager who can do both. Is that man Mourinho?
Mourinho has consistently sold his most creative players and, like Van Gaal, has a win at all costs approach. He isn’t bothered whether the fans are entertained, he’s bothered about winning.
The weekend before they won the title last May, Chelsea legend Ruud Gullit gave his verdict on Mourinho.
His team is boring when, in my opinion, the players he has deserve much better. Mourinho deserves his negative label because of the calculated way he makes Chelsea play. I find it astonishing, because his players are capable of brilliant football, as we saw on Wednesday for a brief moment when they were losing 1-0 at Leicester and were suddenly forced to put their foot on the accelerator.
You could see their hunger to attack and the joy that playing like that brought to the players. They loved it. They were sparkling. Then, as soon as Chelsea were winning 2-1, Mourinho wanted to bring on Kurt Zouma, the defensive midfielder, to keep everything close up. When Zouma was waiting to come on, Chelsea scored a third goal, yet still the change was made to seal the victory. Why on earth did Mourinho do that when it was clear that his players wanted to keep attacking and demolish Leicester? It is because Mourinho hasn’t changed. He has forever got his hand on the handbrake.
The grass is always greener, and now that the team has started to take a nosedive, fans are calling for Mourinho to be the replacement. But how long would it take for us to get board of Mourinho’s dull football too?
Youth development… or absence of
Mourinho has given debuts to just nine academy players at Chelsea, and just five starts to academy players in five years there. In 15 years of management, at Benfica, Uniao Leiria, Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, he has given 23 academy players at least one appearance in the league. This includes Anthony Grant (1 minute), Steven Watt (2 minutes), John Swift (2 minutes), Jimmy Smith (9 minutes) and Andreas Christensen (14 minutes).
In fact, in total, Mourinho has offered a total of 352 minutes in the Premier League to products of the youth team, less than six hours, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek taking up three of those. When you consider that a fortune has been invested in to Chelsea’s academy, which has seen them win the FA Youth Cup in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015, the UEFA Youth League in 2015, the U-21 league in 2014 and the Reserve League in 2011, it’s a worry that Mourinho isn’t trying out more players. He clearly has no interest in youth development. Along with attacking football, is this something else United fans are prepared to sacrifice?
When Chelsea won the league in 2004-05, Mourinho’s signings made 147 appearances (29%), Ranieri’s signings made 326 appearances (63%), and other signings made 41 appearance (8%). When they won the league again, after even more money was spent, Mourinho’s signings made 177 appearances (33%), Ranieri’s made 326 appearances (60%) and other signings made 41 appearance (7%). In Mourinho’s third season, with more money spent again, his signings made 319 appearances (62%) and Ranieri’s made 194 appearances (38%), and United won the title weeks before the season ended.
Essentially, the more money Mourinho was allowed to spend on his players, the worse the team became.
All managers have signed the odd inadequate player, with Sir Alex Ferguson having a Djemba-Djemba or Kleberson to mention, but Mourinho’s record is worse than most, particularly when you consider how much some of these players cost. Juan Cuadrado, Khalid Boulahrouz, Nuri Sahin, Tal Ben Haim, Asier del Horno, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Tiago, Filipe Luis, Jiri Jarosik, Mateja Kezman, Claudio Pizarro and Steve Sidwell, to name a few.
It’s not just the players Mourinho buys, but the ones he decides to sell too. Arjen Robben, Kevin De Bruyne, Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku and Ryan Bertrand were all let go by Mourinho, but are probably all still better than their equivalents who are currently at Chelsea.
There’s usually an unhappy ending, wherever Mourinho is. For Mourinho’s last match in charge during his first stint at Chelsea, just 24,973 supporters showed up to watch Chelsea play Rosenborg, and they booed the team off the pitch. 41,000 fans were in attendance of Chelsea’s next Champions League game after he had been sacked.
Ahead of his first stint at Chelsea, they had finished 2nd in the table and reached the Champions League quarter-finals. They finished 1st in his first season, 1st in his second season, 2nd in his third season, and were 5th when he was sacked in his fourth season. Ahead of his second stint, Chelsea finished 3rd. In his first season they finished 3rd, in his second season 1st, and in his third season, were one point above the relegation zone when he was sacked.
You’re almost certainly guaranteed success, but then you’re also guaranteed a fall.
It’s all about him
During Mourinho’s first time in charge of Chelsea, when he was caught saying controversial things or behaving in a strange way, it was claimed he was doing it to take the pressure off the players. However, as time has gone by, while Mourinho might be motivated to say the things he does to protect his players, he also does so because he loves making everything all about him.
If Chelsea fans at Norwich are singing: ‘Jose Mourinho’, and the other guys sing ‘fuck off Mourinho’, I don’t think it’s aggressive hostility. It’s better than them ignoring me.
In the semi-final of the Champions League in 2010, Mourinho’s Inter Milan knocked out Barcelona. Having won 3-1 at home, Inter were obviously the favourites to reach the final. However, when Thiago Motta was sent off with less than half an hour played at the Nou Camp, Inter were in trouble. Thanks to an excellent display from the 10 men left on the pitch, it was the 84th minute before Barcelona grabbed a consolation goal, despite boasting the talents of Messi, Ibrahimovic and Toure.
Yet at the final whistle, instead of allowing his players to take the glory, he sprinted around the pitch, holding up his finger, number one. The backpages of the newspapers were covered with his picture, not his players. Mourinho may care about his team, he may like the fans, he might want the players to do well, but he won’t ever be able to love anything in football as much as he does himself.
In the summer, Manuel Pellegrini summed up Mourinho’s behaviour pretty well: “When he wins, Mourinho wants to take credit for everything.”
He’s a bit of a dick
Mourinho vs Ronaldo
During the 2006-07 season, when Chelsea had been clear favourites to win the title but Manchester United lead the way, Mourinho claimed that we were doing so well because the referees were giving us so many penalties.
21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo was asked for his thoughts on Mourinho’s comments, to which the youngster claimed Mourinho “does not know how to admit his own failures.”
Mourinho was incensed by this accurate summation of his character, and hit back at Ronaldo, claiming he was poor and uneducated, so should think twice before speaking.
A fortnight went by, with Ronaldo not responding to this snide attack, and Mourinho’s rage had been simmering. So, the next opportunity he had, he continued to blast the young Portuguese winger. “A player who wants to be the best in the world—who can be the best and perhaps is the best already—has to have sufficient honesty and maturity not to argue against the facts. If he says: ‘It’s a lie Manchester United have not had penalties given against them,’ then he is lying. And if he is lying, he won’t reach the level he wants to reach.”
Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t impressed with Mourinho attacking his youngster, and hit back: “I don’t know why he has done this. Maybe he is trying to unsettle the boy. But it is really below the belt to bring class into it. Just because you come from a poor, working-class background does not mean to say you are not educated. What Ronaldo has are principles, that is why he has not responded to it. Other people are educated but have no principles.” Hint, hint.
Mourinho vs Vilanova
In 2011, as manager of Real Madrid, he stuck his thumb into Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova’s eye during a scuffle on the touchline. Mourinho wasn’t involved, but purposefully walked over to attack Vilanova.
Mourinho’s spokesman, Eladio Parames, told Spanish newspaper El Mundo that: “Jose will not ask for forgiveness. He firmly believes that he was defending the interests of Real Madrid.”
Mourinho vs Frisk
In 2005, when Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona, Mourinho claimed that he saw Frank Rikjaard entering referee Anders Frisk’s room at half time. “When I saw Rijkaard entering the referee’s dressing room I couldn’t believe it,” he said after the game.
Frisk received death threats from Chelsea fans and retired from the game as a result, only for Mourinho to later admit he saw no such thing. “I saw nothing, I wasn’t involved,” Mourinho admitted. “I am always the first man to leave the pitch at halftime and some assistants told me what happened.”
Mourinho was fined and given a touchline ban by UEFA, with their disciplinary committee accusing Mourinho of “poisoning” football with his lies.
Mourinho vs Carneiro
On the opening day of the 2015-16, Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw against Swansea at Stamford Bridge. In injury time, Eden Hazard went down with an injury, and referee Michael Oliver signalled for the medical staff to enter the field. Club doctor, Eva Carneiro, and head physio, Jon Fearn, went on to the pitch to treat the player.
“I was unhappy with my medical staff. They were impulsive and naive,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “Whether you are a kit man, doctor or secretary on the bench you have to understand the game. You have to know you have one player less and to assist a player you must be sure he has a serious problem.”
The Premier League Doctors’ Group confirmed that “a refusal to run on to the pitch would have breached the duty of care required of the medical team to their patient”, meaning Carneiro and Fern had no choice but to respond to Oliver’s call.
Carneiro lost her place on the bench and was no longer allowed to attend matches or training sessions. When Mourinho was asked about this decision at a press conference, he defended the decision and threatened to walk out if further questions on the topic were asked.
Mourinho was cleared by the FA, claiming it couldn’t be concluded that “words were directed at any person in particular.” Carneiro wasn’t asked for her version of events.
Mourinho vs Ranieri
“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, 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. Ranieri bought him his title winning team!
Mourinho’s last game in charge of Chelsea, before getting sacked by them for a second time, was against Ranieri’s Leicester. The day finished with Leicester top of the table while Chelsea were in a relegation battle. Maybe Chelsea’s next manager will refer to Mourinho as a loser.