Has Mourinho Blown His Chance Of Following Sir Alex?

Author: Bricki

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After what was another stirring ‘El Classico’ in the Camp Nou last week we are reflecting now not on a superb game of football, instead the headlines are about the mass brawl and touchline troubles that ended the game.

For two such extremely talented teams to resort to violence and intimidation after producing two fantastic encounters is sad. The fact that Real Madrid have now had 6 players sent off in 6 games against Barcelona coupled with Mourinho being dismissed and mass brawls on the pitch and touchline, does not suggest a manager fully in control of the situation he has created.

Long have we heard the rumours that Mourinhos next job is taking on what many people feel will be the hardest task of all, following in the steps of Sir Alex Ferguson.

After his antics of recent months in Spain however is he the right man for the job and can he manage with the principles of how United fans expect their teams to play?


The El Classico games are the most anticipated in Europe right now, with Madrid attempting to catch up and replicate the success that Barcelona have enjoyed in the last 3/4 years in Spain and the Champions League.

Its a huge task to try and catch up then overtake a team in Barcelona that is currently head and shoulders above the rest of Europe. If you were to suggest one man that would take on this challenge and have the ‘grapes’ to complete it then it is Mourinho. After enjoying success in Portugal, England and then Italy, the expectation was of more of the same in Spain. Tackling a team such as Barcelona who are playing argurably the greatest football of their history is different however to the jobs he has done previously.

If you look at the success he achieved elsewhere he has not had such a rival prepared to push him and his team so far.
In Portugal he had a team in Porto that were much stronger than most rivals and he was able to use spending power to widen the gap at the top.
In England United, Arsenal and Liverpool were in transitional periods that coupled with the vast spending power of Roman Ambramovich allowed him to take a strong team left by Claudio Ranieri to a title that was there for the taking.
The match rigging scandal that engulfed Italian football destroyed the major fighters for the league title, leaving an already strong Inter with few genuine challengers to the crown.

Not to suggest that Mourinho is anymore a lucky manager than other successful managers tend to be but its a valid point that the Real Madrid job is the first he has taken that gives him a genuine rival that he has to aspire to beat.

‘The Special One’ as he referred to himself in England has had a relative easy ride in terms of challenges at domestic level, having teams that were usually far too strong for the majority of competitors and coincided with many being in transition.

On the European level he has also enjoyed the luck that ‘good’ managers get, an offside goal for Porto against Man United, the ash cloud debacle for Barcelona and teams in both finals that were weaker than many other teams in both years competitions.

That is not to be critical of Mourinho for these reasons, you play the hand you’re dealt and Jose has called peoples’ bluffs on many occasions but now he’s at a poker table with a high roller he can’t easily intimidate.

The battles with Barcelona have asked new questions of Mourinho as a manager and coach…

Can he build a new team with a new style of play and be successful?

Can he work under as a coach under a management struture that doesn’t give him total control?

Can he win over the media and fans in a country where his support is minimal?

The demands of Real Madrid fans were much different to those of Chelsea and Inter. With Chelsea he was expected to make the club compete for the title after being 3rd/4th/5th place competitors previously and at Inter he was expected to win a league that had few challengers and make the club compete in Europe. At Real Madrid he is expected to overhaul Barcelona and league/Euro success has to happen rather than hope it will happen.

Mourinhos’ teams have always been built on a balance of skill and power. At Chelsea the forward 3 of Robben, Drogba and Duff offered pace and power backed up in midfield by the strength of Makelele, Essien and Lampard. The same thing occurred at Inter with the strength of Eto’o, Milito and the guile of Sneidjer backed up by a solid 3 in the midfield of Stankovic, Zanetti and Cambiasso.

At Real Madrid he has attempted to replicate this with a strong front man of either Higuain or Benzema flanked by Ronaldo and Di Maria. The power in the midfield is not as obvious as previous clubs with either Khedira or Diarra providing a steel flanked by Alonso and Ozil to create.

The style of play in Spain is much more technical than in England and Italy at this time requiring a smarter way to play other than ‘bullying’ teams to victory in the way Chelsea and Inter did. The evidence of Mourinhos failure to find a solution to this against Barcelona was evident in the 5-0 trouncing early in the season and that the subsequent games at the end of the season descended into Real Madrid players kicking Barcelona off the park when they could catch them.

Barcelona are the first team Mourinho has faced where he hasn’t found the solution to the problems they present. Ok, no team has yet found the solution to Barcelona however the different responses to defeat presented by Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson highlight the difference in the men and why Mourinho may not be suited to following Ferguson once he calls it a day.

After being comprehensively outplayed at Wembley in May, Ferguson complimented Barcelona on the style of play and dominance, suggesting that they are the goal to reach and he will do what he can to attempt to reach them.

Mourinhos’ childish response to defeat last week was to label Barcelona a ‘small club’ and poke a coach in the eye after one of his players had lunged into Fabregas causing a huge bust up involving the players and touchline staff.

Make of that reaction what you will…

The way that Mourinho has approached the challenge of Barcelona has appeared to be to wind them up until they make an error and capitalise on it. This approach smacks of a man who does not believe in his own tools, feeling the need to stifle the opposition rather than make them worry about you.

However much criticism Ferguson takes from the media, fans and opposition fans, he will always look to make the opponent worry about his team rather than stifle them. The whole idea is essentially an admittance that Mourinho doesn’t have a ‘football’ answer to the problem different from the style he employed at previous clubs.

Manchester United fans demand attractive, attacking football from their teams. It is something that has been with every generation of fan and is a must for any new manager that comes in. The chant of ‘Attack, Attack, Attack’ is a regular on the terraces emphasising that it is not just about winning for the fans.

The early signs in Madrid this season is that Mourinho has been able to alter the Madrid team slightly to make them less pragmatic and more pleasing on the eye but underneath that is still the visible anger and aggression as proven at the end of the game when the melee ensued.

Could we see any current manager in England behave in the way Mourinho did, basically gouging at a coaches eye? The answer is no without a doubt, for all the complaints and unhappiness with the English FA they would not allow such behaviour to go unpunished.

The reaction of Mourinho suggests a man who is struggling to control himself and his feelings as he attempts to get Madrid to a level to compete with Barcelona. So what would happen should a similar situation occur in a derby match or against Liverpool for example? Its becoming clearer that Mourinho has become too much of a law unto himself in the last 18 months. The illusion of grandeur fed to him through the media and the ‘Special One’ tag has created a man who doesnt believe the rules apply to him, he do things his own way and to hell with everyone else.

Sir Alex Ferguson has been punished for times he has crossed the line and rightly so. He has however always defended his team in the right way and given credit where it is due. As the head and leader of such a big club it is important that a balance is struck between doing all you can for your club and then going too far. Mourinho does not have that balance and it seems he basks in the spotlight and ignomy he causes with the bad behaviour just as much as he craves the spotlight of success.

As people such as Sir Bobby Charlton sit in the stand at United and show the ideals the club strives for, can we have a manager in the digout who appears to be out for himself and doesn’t give a damn about the headlines he creates or the disrespect he shows to others?

Football is about winning of that there is no doubt but a line needs to drawn somewhere and the thought of Mourinho bringing through a United side that could behave in ways his Real Madrid team and Mourinho himself has leaves a very nervous feeling in the stomach…

Clubs still stand for something in society and with a leader such as the current Mourinho at the head of our club it could harm the very name of Manchester United.

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10 Responses to “Has Mourinho Blown His Chance Of Following Sir Alex?”

  1. Jim says:

    Could not agree more, this last incident just adds more to my belief that Jose should never have been considered as SAF’s successor.

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  2. stevo says:

    Please listen yet again, Bobby Charlton stated two years ago that Mourinho will never be Utd manager.Sir Bobby does not like his style of football but most of all he does not like the person.No more tabloid crap about him getting the top job its a non runner.

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  3. Santan says:

    Firstly, I’d say that yes, a true Man Utd fan would not like to see Jose at the helm. But I think you are being overly critical here. You’ve added factors such as luck and poor teams fueling his ego and success. Yes, the clubs he has been to have had the monetary resources to out muscle other teams but he has man-managed those teams into champions. Money cannot buy that. You are right when you say Barcelona are the benchmark and he is struggling to match up to their powers. But of what everyone has already seen and even known, Jose is a master tactician and he always protects his players. After all this debacle I don’t read a single Madrid players name being pulled up by the media. The limelight is totally on him. Again, I agree that he craves that and is fueled by that attention but he lets his players slide without notice and thats admirable. I’ve never liked Jose but I love his managerial style. Yes, I wouldn’t like to see him at the club but the points you share here are not why I wouldn’t want him. You’ve overlooked the fact that Jose never nurtures young talent which has always been a Forte at Man Utd. For that one reason alone I wouldn’t want him to join our club.

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  4. andromeda says:

    I still want Jose to be the man who replace Fergie, for God sake he won everything with Chelsea that I bet no one could ever do that beside he won the treble with an Italian team, I guess no one can repeat that not after a century may be.we should’t be blind and see only the negatives.we all remember that even Fergie had some moments of madness during his time, for instance the famous David Beckham hairdryer that ended throwing a shoe on his head, although this is not a fair comparison to what Jose did at Camp nou but still we must give him time and credit.obviously he wanted to protect his players and his team.everyone may say Pep Guardiola is better than Jose but believe me Mourinho is thousand street in front of him.Barcelona is a team from heaven there is no doubt and even the most naive manager could do the job without any given instruction….

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  5. Ramon says:

    I don’t understand this jive about Mourinho protecting his players when they act like thugs on the pitch! I wouldn’t protect a friend if he mug an old lady, so why does he feel he needs to protect players who get paid millions of pounds to play football but yet need to constantly act like thugs on the pitch. That is not protecting your players but, condoning their action. Nothing admirable about that.
    @Andromeda, what kind of analysis is this ‘Barcelona is a team from heaven there is no doubt and even the most naive manager could do the job without any given instruction’. Really, anyone can coach Barca and win everything??? Silly statements like that takes away any valid points you’ve made. The proof is in the pudding, Pep has put Mourinho to the sword, tactically, as a team motivator, and as a manager who respect the opposition and plays beautiful football, and on all of these Guardiola has come on top. Mourinho has been found out! Not even ¢500 millions spent on players the last 3 years has hidden Mourinho’s inept as a football coach. Makes you wonder why ManU fanS would want this clown to succeed the great SAF.

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  6. Leo says:

    Im a Barca fan and a great admirer of SAF. To me, Pep is nothing but a great coach, the best at the moment but not yet the legend tha SAF is. He was humble enough to admit it before the CL final. For all his 11 trophies in just 3years, Pep is as humble as they get, he has reduced Mourinho to only 2 victories in 10 games, 5 losses and 3draws. And some people here still want to make him appear like he is out of this world. He is ‘special’ only because he is half retarded and l think he needs to consult a psychiatrist before something goes terribly wrong. Barca and Manu’s ways are built on a foundation of discipline and respect. Football in these two teams is an expression of valued philosophies and there is no room for arrogance and eye poking!

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  7. minimal says:

    the criticism for mourinho is over the top for sure, yes his antics maybe becoming annoyng for some (that about barcelona antics?), but it’s difficult to take for real this article which so undermines him as a coach. he’s great coach you don’t win 2 champions leagues by pure luck + 1 fact – then we played barcelona it was a noncontest, but mourinho always managed to stay almost on level terms util some of real players becoming sent off, he even won against them. that about pep guardiola being lucky to have such a group of extraordinary players under his management, and all the rest of worlds best players wants to join them?? isn’t it a huge luck compare to mourinhos few refereeing decisions + that about all the luck pep got wiht refs too? so that criticism is irrelevant to me the most im portant is his coaching ability plius ability to win

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  8. minimal says:

    @ramon – typical bitter barcelona fan. get a life – you dissmiss mourinho as total amateur forget then he won against you with inter? or it was just a”luck” too? fucking joke

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  9. Bricki says:

    the article is aimed at Mourinho and not the development of Guardiola (who developed the the players in the reserves at Barca so didnt exactly inherit a great side).
    Whilst i am not suggesting that Mourinho is purely a lucky manager, i am saying that he has enjoyed the luck a good manager gets in certain situations. Now is the first time as a manager he has had a genuine rival rather than opposition either hinded due to points deductions (Juve, Milan) or clubs in transition (United). The fact he has started to behave the way he has now everything isnt working out for him suggest underlying issues that potentially rule him out as a united manager.
    He is a talented coach without a doubt but now is the time we find out just how good he is and if he has a plan B.

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  10. Fletcherinho says:

    The comments regarding Mourinho needing a plan B are very true, however I do believe as all good managers he will show he has one. With the players at his disposal he will need to.

    When we consider La Liga last season, the two games Madrid had v Barcelona effectively lost them the title, so Mourinho needs to build a side that can beat Barca home and away. Having a mass brawl is ineffective, as it generally leads to further bad blood and suspensions, which they don’t need.

    With regards to Mourinho as SAF’s successor, if we consider his management choices solely, and I know some will argue his sinister sides are also choices, but his on the pitch choices, players he purchases and tactical substitutions he makes, I do think he has the makings of being a United manager. Let’s not forget that initial Chelsea side he built with the likes of Robben and a then, fully fit capable J Cole on the flanks. That Chelsea side were good to watch, had energy and drive in abundance, attacked and scored goals.

    The CL infatuation was the falling of Mourinho, his inability and admittedly lack of luck v Liverpool meant time was running out as Abromovich was hungry for CL success.

    Mourinho’s mannerisms with the media leave a lot to be desired, for some he is a character, for others frustrating and puts the limelight on the club in a bad way. In addition, the aura he has around players has been from most accounts positive, as is a real sense of inspiration for them. These two balance out and we consider the greater good of man management being a positive.

    In the eyes of the Glazers and possible sponsors, Mourinho may well be out of the radar as he carries too much baggage, as a footballing manager, we could do A LOT worse.

    I also think it’s sad to look around the globe and find that there aren’t that many great managers who could come in and do a job straight away, we’ve been spoilt.

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