THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

8 February ~ He is tactically brilliant, unbeatable in mind games and capable of overcoming any opponent on his day, but José Mourinho is not the best manager in the world. If reports suggesting he will leave the Bernabéu this summer are true, it would, in the long-term at least, be a mistake for any Premier League club to take him on. The first and most often excused problem with Mourinho as a manager is that he is a trouble maker. He might argue that his antics distract from his players and benefit his team, but there is a limit to this logic.

When a manager blames himself or, more likely, the referee for a disappointing result, the team could well benefit from the deflected attention. When a manager uses elaborate mind games to give his side a psychological advantage over the opposition, that can be good as well. But winding up opposition supporters, being regularly sent to the stands for bad behaviour and even involving yourself in player brawls – slapping faces and pulling ears – is something quite different. It is hard to see how these types of incidents can be for the good of the team.

On a deeper level, Mourinho has proven himself shortsighted as a manager. Winning the League twice for Chelsea was great, but the club was left in a mess when he departed. This was not just because they were landed with an inferior manager, but because the team was developed in an unsustainable manner. In just over three years, Mourinho spent over £200 million on 23 players, just four of whom were 21 years old or younger. He sold over ten academy-team products and left an ageing timebomb of a squad. The squad has had some success since, but without regular large reinvestment, has generally been declining in quality since its peak in the Mourinho era.

Mourinho's worst attribute is his inability to commit. He has worked across six different clubs since his managerial career began in 2000, spending an average of two years at each. Maybe he did not expressly ask to leave each of his clubs – he is widely believed to have been shoved from Chelsea under a veil of "mutual consent" – but he has issues getting along with colleagues and not jumping ship.

It has long been rumoured that Mourinho's intention is to return to the Premier League. No doubt this would be greeted with great excitement from the club concerned. But should there be? Yes, he is a brilliant manager, but he is not without his flaws. Doing well for two years is all very well, but what comes after that? Mourinho may have achieved a lot, but he is yet to prove himself as a long-term manager. William Turvill

Comments (10)
Comment by Coral 2012-02-08 11:10:06

So if King Kenny left Liverpool, Liverpool would do well to avoid Jose at all costs? Winning that first league title in decades and numerous other trophies to boot pale in comparison with sustainable top 7 places and a league cup final or two.

Interesting piece but leaving Chelsea is not something that only the special one has done. He won more at Inter in a season than most do in a lifetime, and at Madrid he has presented more of a challenge to the "best side ever" than anyone else has done in recent times. Apart from Inter who beat them...

Comment by Adam Wilson 2012-02-08 11:47:53

If he wants to come to Forest I'd be prepared to give him a go for a year or two. Or even a week or two.

Comment by Outside Agent 2012-02-08 11:58:47

In what way is Mourinho "unbeatable in mind games"? How does one measure this? If he talks about matters other than the game, and an opposing manager desists from doing likewise, does that mean that a Mourinho has won the 'mind games'?

It appears to me that because he is fond of utilising the mass exposure he enjoys to talk about anything and everything, that this somehow makes him a master of psychological games, and because his teams win more than they lose, then it goes without saying that he is a master at these 'mind games'.

It's nonsense, really.

Comment by t.j.vickerman 2012-02-08 12:23:48

If Mourinho is a master of mind games, what does that make Guardiola?

Comment by Otter 2012-02-08 17:18:02

> If Mourinho is a master of mind games, what does that make Guardiola?

A master of football games.

Comment by Analogue Bubblebath II 2012-02-08 22:00:46

"at Madrid he has presented more of a challenge to the 'best side ever' than anyone else has done in recent times.

He's won one match out of ten against Barcelona, despite outspending Guardiola on transfers by two and a half to one. We needn't get into how Madrid have behaved in most of those matches either.

Comment by Coral 2012-02-09 09:49:46

"He's won one match out of ten against Barcelona"

Must be losing in the title race then this season?

Also not sure it really matters what is spent as one of them has had more time to buy in his players and also has access to a few decent home grown players. And Barcelona have hardly been saints in the games between the two.

Comment by tempestinaflathat 2012-02-09 10:05:00

I've yet to meet a Chelsea fan who's particularly disappointed that his club hired Mourinho.

Comment by Analogue Bubblebath II 2012-02-09 18:40:01

"also has access to a few decent home grown players."

I love this, as if all those players just fell out of the sky a few yards away from where Guardiola was standing. He was one of the people who brought almost all of them through as youth products.

Comment by Coral 2012-02-10 09:59:43

If a player of Messi's calabre was available to Jose I am sure he would introduce him into the team. Having arguably the best youth system in the world to intergrate players from is probably a bit of a help.

Still perhaps him bringing those players through and looking to the future is why Madrid are ahead of Barcelona in the league still.

Related articles

The Duellists: Pep, José and the birth of football’s greatest rivalry
by Paolo Condo 
(translated from Italian by Anthony Wright)DeCoubertin Books, £12.99Reviewed by Paul KellyFrom WSC 372, February 2018Buy the...
José Mourinho v Antonio Conte
My money's on Conte....pic.twitter.com/60BrGOY2qB— Juvefc.com (@juvefcdotcom) March 13, 2017...