The past three, or even four years in Jose Mourinho’s management career was not as good as neither him nor the fans would have hoped.
The three-time Premier League winner and former Champions League winner with both Porto and Inter Milan, Mourinho came to Manchester United with the backing of a stellar career till then.
But he was not able to restore United back to its old glory, and was fired in December 2018 after three unsuccessful seasons with the club.
He was later touted for a move to Real Madrid and then to Paris Saint Germain. While Zidane arrived at Madrid instead, it is yet to be known as to what PSG’s final decision is.
But despite all these doubts and question marks flying around at the mere mention of the name “Jose Mourinho” these days, there is still no doubt as to the fact that football have seen very few radical modern thinkers like him, that influenced the game to such an extent. Such is his vastness in terms of footballing knowledge.
Managers like Zidane, Pep Guardiola and so on who are also associated with progressive thinking, were prolific players of their own generation, while Mourinho cannot boast of such a quality. It is sheer grit, hard work, determination, and his trademark defiance against all odds, that have taken him to the heights where he currently stands.
The Portuguese started his career as an assistant manager to Sir Bobby Robson, who was in charge of Barcelona back then. During his time there, he used to create detailed reports on the Barca squad for Sir Robson to work on, and needless to say, the Englishman was quite proud of his deputy.
Mourinho later moved to Benfica for his first-ever duty as full-time manager, before lifting the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan, the La Liga with Real Madrid and the Premier League with Chelsea, among other titles.
As of latest, it has been revealed as to how well the Portuguese prepared to face Barcelona, while he was managing a troublesome Chelsea side in 2005-’06. It is Twitter user @PerformanceAna2 that has given us an insight on how Mourinho’s “beautiful mind” worked nearly a decade and a half ago, as evident from the reports made on various attributes – distribution, formations, attacking/defending styles, offensive/defensive transitions and more – all of them extremely detailed.
Full Jose Mourinho Scouting Report on FC Barcelona from 2005/2006. Amazing the amount of detail that Mourinho and Andre Villas Boas would go into to prepare for the next opponent..Enjoy it's not everyday that this information is shared with the public! #DetailsMakeTheDifference pic.twitter.com/JAGO0sRDx6
— Performance Analysis in Action (@PerformanceAna2) March 16, 2019
As you can see, there is also a section called “Individual Appreciation” meant to include details of every player. Some of his inputs are “daring”, to say the least:
Of Carles Puyol, he said: “Aggressive but very emotional. Gets crazy with the referee in fouls against him and goes mad in provocations. Aggressive defender, plays in anticipation using body. Bad positional sense (comes to midfield with striker) and bad leadership of defence (wants to do offside when it’s not possible). Because he uses his body strength to regain possession we can provocate contacts in the final third or outside the box. Good heading ability and power.”
When it came to Ronaldinho, it was hence: “Technical quality to avoid defender on first touch. When opened receives the ball and the attacks full-back 1 vs 1 (inside to shoot or outside to cross). Much more dangerous when provocating spaces inside (between lines) from those positions forces a central defender out and then with a pen. pass releases Messi, Eto’o or the penetrating midfielder. Very poor defensive transition and defensive work – exploit. Constant cheater – falls easily.”
As you can see, he also mentions Andres Iniesta as dynamic and tricky, while about Messi he said, “Quality + speed but very left footed. Exactly the same behaviours as Ronaldinho. Inside between lines or diagonals. Encourages team forward by ball driving. Amazing 1 vs 1. If option is to foul him it’s important to do it outside the box and as early as possible. [Has] recovered from an injury recently.”
The Potuguese had the best of opinions on Samuel Eto’o, who went on to play under him at Inter Milan in 2009-’10 and then at Chelsea in 2013-’14.
More than these individual observations, it is Mourinho’s study on the team as such, that makes for a very compelling view. It clearly shows how very few managers work as hard as him, to get a job done. When the work done is proportional to what holds in the brain, like in the case of Mourinho here, they become very special.
Does it feel wrong any longer, that Jose Mourinho is called “the Special One”!