Jose Mourinho. Quite simply one of the best managers ever. An absolute phenomenon when he lead Porto to the Champions League Trophy back in 2004.
An even bigger phenomenon once he left his homeland of Portugal, and moved to England, propelling Chelsea to a complete new level, and winning back to back Premier League’s in his first two seasons.
He completely changed to world of football, let’s be honest. Having learnt from some of the greatest in the game, including the likes of Sir Bobby Robson, it’s not surprising how impressive Mourinho was.
However, after 20 years of being a top flight manager, has ‘The Special One’ finally lost his touch? Is Jose Mourinho outdated?
As I touched on, you can’t take anything away from Jose Mourinho. He’s won the lot. From his successful career at Porto, where he won 2 leagues, a cup, and both the UEFA Cup and the elusive Champions League, to Chelsea, who he transformed from contenders, to achievers. He can’t take his many medals away from him.
However, that was then, and this is now. Mourinho’s style of football is to defend, and hit sides on the counter attack. This ideology has never changed. When he drilled his Porto side into defending for their lives, and hitting the opposition on the counter attack, it was rarely seen in European football.
Mourinho instantly rethought tactics. Press high when you can, work hard, and defend. If you do all that, you’ll eventually be able to break and hit teams with an unstoppable counter attack.
This worked instantly. Porto became an overnight success and Mourinho immortal in Porto.
A style of football that also gripped the Premier League. With Chelsea being transformed into a powerhouse of world football, winning trophies season after season, Mourinho had people debating if he’d ever be tactically out mastered.
He wasn’t for years. His outstanding Chelsea side were one of the best defensive teams to ever have graced the English game. For 2 years they were rampant and won back to back titles with ease.
However just a year later, Mourinho’s tactics weren’t going as well as he was used to. The Premier League had adapted, and the fans were getting bored with Mourinho’s tactics. He only had one plan and once that was found out, he had no plan b. On 20th September 2007, Mourinho parted ways with Chelsea.
Just because the English had found out Mourinho’s style, it didn’t mean the Italians had.
Jose Mourinho was appointed as the new Inter Milan manager under a year after leaving London. Just as he did in Portugal, and England, Mourinho instantly took the Italian league by storm.
His Inter Milan side won the Scudedtto by 10 points in just his first season in charge. Again, how could he improve?
Well just like at Porto, he won the Champions League. And again like at Porto, he won the treble. Mourinho had given the Italians instant success and the fans adored him, just like his previous clubs.
With his impeccable CV, Real Madrid came knocking.
During his first year in Spain, Mourinho transformed the side, but was unable to win the league title or the Champions League.
This soon changed a year later, with Mourinho leading Los Galacticos to the La Liga title.
The Real Madrid fans soon lost patience with the Portuguese, and his boring style of play. This caused a rift between the manager and fans, with Mourinho publicly criticising the supporters. Again, when spending over 2 seasons at a club, the fans got bored and wanted more exciting football.
The dream return to Chelsea soon happened, and Mourinho was reunited with the club he loved, and who loved him. In his first season back in London, he was unable to win any silverware, but once again transformed a club and brought in some world class players.
In 2014/5, Jose Mourinho led Chelsea to another Premier League title. An absolute rampant season, scoring goals for fun, with a solid defence. Had Mourinho finally transitioned into a more attacking manager?
Once again, the style of football was found out after just 1 successful season. Mourinho lost 9 of the first 16 Premier League games during the 2015/6 season, ultimately parting ways with Chelsea again in December 2015. This is the start of the Mourinho downfall in my opinion.
After leaving Chelsea, many knew Mourinho’s next move. Manchester United.
After the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, it was public knowledge that Ferguson wanted Mourinho to succeed him at Old Trafford. This never happened due to Mourinho heading back to Stamford Bridge, but after the failures of David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal, Fergie finally got his wish.
Mourinho took over at United in May 2016. He started with a bang, winning the Community Shield at Wembley just 10 weeks after taking over. This was a positive start, and the vibes around the club were just as positive.
Mourinho’s first season in Manchester again resulted in silverware, with the club winning both the EPL Cup and Europa League. Things were going well, and with another £200m splashed out that summer, United looked real title contenders.
This didn’t materialise.
With a range of world class attacking players at his leisure, fans thought Mourinho might start taking more risks and changing the way his sides played. This, like before, didn’t happen.
With £200m of talent normally sat on the bench, Manchester United were soon knocked out of the Champions League, and 19 points behind Manchester City at the end of the season.
The year after, Mourinho was sacked by Manchester United, after achieving just 7 wins in 17 games.
With Manchester United fans glad to see the back of the boring Mourinho, he went to a side who weren’t happy to see him either.
Tottenham Hotspur had just reached the Champions League final under the excellent Mauricio Pochettino. Things were looking up for Spurs, and they were playing exciting football. After a month or two of poor results, Pochettino was sacked. Spurs fans were rightfully furious and once Daniel Levy announced who the new manager was, things went from bad to worse.
Fast forward to the present day. After 15 months in charge of Spurs, Mourinho is still playing the same boring football that he’s always played.
After finishing an average 6th place last season, Mourinho started the 2020/21 season extremely well. After 10 games, Spurs were top of the table, and it seemed that Mourinho’s counter attacking mentality was coming back into fashion.
It soon snapped back out.
Just 11 games later, Tottenham find themselves currently in 9th place. A serious fall from grace.
Once again, fans are unhappy with Mourinho’s boring dead end football. They hate watching him defend for 90 minutes and seemingly not trying to even win matches.
The latest showing at home to Chelsea, was one of the most one sided games I’ve ever seen.
Mourinho had set out to defend, and counter attack as per usual. But he had no attack. Match that with his defence being poor, Spurs were never in the game. The home side looked dull, disillusioned and like they’d had enough.
Chelsea were playing nice passing football and schooling Mourinho’s side. Nothing changed, and the match fizzled out, with Spurs losing 1-0.
Once again, this has caused fans to turn on his negative style of play. Reports that Mourinho may even be the next Premier League manager to be given the boot, and this frankly wouldn’t surprise me at all.
Jose Mourinho’s style of football is outdated.
It’s as simple as that. With the new influx of managers wanting to play the Tiki-Taka style of football, the old fashioned counter attack just isn’t working. Times have changed, and when facing a Mourinho side, you know exactly what is coming.
A team who have no interest in attacking at all. They have no interest in passing the ball, creating changes, possession.
They just want to sit back, let sides have 75% possession and try to take their chances on the counter attack. This may work against the lower sides, but not against a half decent side with a clued up manager.
Mourinho once again will refuse to change his ways, leading to another year of failure. This will be his 4th straight poor season if it carries on the way it’s going, and how many more top clubs are going to give him a chance if he does get sacked from Tottenham? Who wants to employ a manager who played the most negative style of football? The fans don’t want to see their team playing this way. It’s dull, boring, and is enough to send anyone to sleep.
A manager who’s given the game so much, and one who’s made such an impact in England, but let’s be honest Jose… your football is outdated.