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Jose Mourinho – The Lone Ranger Of English Football


Jose Mourinho – The Lone Ranger Of English

If there was ever a list of the most misunderstood managers in football history, Jose Mourinho’s name would probably be on top. People either love him or hate him and there seems to be no middle ground for the Portuguese tactician. Having coached some of the biggest teams across Europe, Mourinho is undoubtedly one of the most prolific and skilled managers of our times.

He might come across as brash, argumentative and arrogant but he is also charismatic, passionate and it is quite evident that he genuinely loves the beautiful game. To that end, the word ‘misunderstood’ seems to do ample justice to Mourinho. They say that the true mark of greatness is when one learns from and improves their mistakes and that is something the manager has done on a couple of occasions.

Back when he was in charge of Chelsea, Mourinho was accused of not allowing enough chances to youngsters. Of course, the Blues’ loan policy itself does not provide much scope for that to happen and yet a lot of fingers were pointed at Mourinho. However, he continues to be one of their most successful managers and whether or not Chelsea fans like to admit it now, they were all gaga for him at one point.

One can understand as to why they may not view him with as much reverence now. After all, he is managing one of their biggest rivals in the Premier League. And at Manchester United, Mourinho has proven that he is not one to shy away from allowing youngsters to flourish. Be it Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard or Scott McTominay, the manager has been extremely generous with providing them opportunities and that has reflected in the way these players have blossomed.

Lingard was labelled a failure and among a lot of other things and yet, he is one of United’s most influential players this season. There has been a lot of talk about how Pep Guardiola has transformed Raheem Sterling but not many have credited Mourinho with the way he has brought Lingard out of his shell. The Man City star was touted as one of the most exciting talents even a couple of years back but the Manchester United academy graduate could never get things going for him at Old Trafford. However, at present, Lingard’s impact has been unparalleled and Mourinho deserves full credit for the same.


Even when it comes to transfers, the Special One has made a difference for United. Before he took charge, the Red Devils were struggling to land a deal for Marouane Fellaini from Everton and now, they have signed the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba. What he has done for the club so far is quite impressive even if a good majority of the fans seem to be cribbing about what he has not done.

One of the biggest complaints the fans have about him is the fact that he often resorts to using unnecessarily defensive tactics – especially against the big teams. More often than not, Mourinho has been blamed with accusations of ‘parking the bus’ and ‘playing boring football’. To be fair, Old Trafford has always been used to watching intense counter-attacking plays under the tutelage of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson. However, times change and it has been quite a while since his retirement. Since then, David Moyes and Louis van Gaal changed a lot of things at the club and now Mourinho is doing the best he can.

While they have played defensively on several occasions this season, one must bear in mind that this was most frequent when the likes of Pogba and Fellaini were injured. United’s midfield situation is far from ideal and to have two of their key midfielders out at the same time, really affected their fortunes. Regardless, there have been numerous occasions when Mourinho employed intense attacking tactics to guide United to victory but nobody seems to want to talk about that.


On some level, the media often downplays Mourinho’s best work to make him seem like the villain all the time. For example, the United manager recently mentioned in his press conference that he did not need to act like a ‘clown’ to prove his passion for the Red Devils, which was understood to be a veiled reference at Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s passionate displays of emotion. To that, Conte responded by pointing out that perhaps Mourinho is suffering from senility. Now, one needs to recognize the difference between healthy (or unhealthy) banter and personal attacks. What Mourinho said fell into the former category whereas Conte’s remark turned it into a more personal battle.

In response to the senility comment, Mourinho brought up the instance where Conte received a four-month ban in August 2012 for failing to report the alleged match-fixing at Siena during the 2010-11 season. The United manager explained that he would never be caught in such a situation and immediately, the media started painting him as the bad guy, even though it was the fiery Italian manager who first indulged in making personal attacks. Once more, Conte was let off while Mourinho was labelled rude, insensitive and what not.

To sum up the Special One’s career, he will forever be known as the manager that was outspoken and brash but perhaps not many will know of his true influence and impact. He is aware of the fact that not many people adhere to his decisions and tactics but he is brave enough to follow his own path and act as a solitary soldier even when the whole world questions him – and that is what his legacy will be about in the years to come.