Is José the greatest manager of his generation?

by Claire Tully

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

I used to think begrudgery was just an Irish thing.

It’s like a really bad tradition we’re born into that means you’d rather eat the scabs from a leper’s sock than be happy for others doing well for themselves.

Sometimes there’s a small justification. Take for example I’ve just joined the group on Facebook “To every country in the World Cup – Fuck up France. Kind regards, The Irish”. Well, not much more I can say there.

But other times it’s quite obvious begrudgers are nothing more than little people jealous of the achievements of others because they do nothing but serve to reflect their own inexcusable shortcomings.

Which brings me to Mourinho, the “Special One” who is most definitely not short on haters.

Sure I can appreciate the obnoxiousness of self-appointing yourself a title like that. But in all honestly if I had a record of losing only 54 of the 458 matches I’d overseen as a manager and leading two less than spectacular teams to Champions League glory I’d probably buy a small town, name it after myself and declare a national holiday. Let’s be honest, that’s some feat.

And what’s even more impressive is he’s only at it ten years, which begs the question, if this is the 47 year-olds mid-life crisis then hasn’t the best yet to come?

Mourinho’s CV lists title honours like they were giving them out free with Cornflakes.

In his two full seasons at Porto he delivered two league titles, the UEFA Cup and the Champions League. Not to mention the Portuguese Cup and the Super Cup.

He led Chelsea’s first League title in 50 years and followed it up with a second as well as the FA Cup, two League Cups and some pretty good performances in the Champions League.

At 47 he is the third coach ever to win the Champions League with two different clubs joining Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld in the annals of football history. And with his sights set on moving to the Galacticos I’ll put money on him being the first to make that three in the next few years.

But what stands out even more are the teams he led were not the Barcelona’s or the Man United’s but the ones with a lot less on paper. And not only did he do this twice but he hasn’t lost a home game in 8 years!
Last Saturday he led a less than spectacular Internazionale to Champions League glory for the first time in 45 years. One more piece of silverware to go with their Coppa Italia and Serie A trophies.

The only fault I can find (if I try really really hard) is that it was a pretty boring game. And in general the tactics of aiming for a 1-0 win and building a defence of steel is not as spellbinding for football fans as having a team entertain like they’re in some bloody Nike ad.

Of course you can argue maybe they had a stroke of luck when that unpronounceable volcano in Iceland ensured Barcelona had a two day coach drive ahead of their last encounter. But you could equally point out that the magic ingredient in all of this was in fact Mourinho.

Already on route to the Bernabau the real challenge the “Special One” has is to find a compromise to play brilliant football and not just win trophies by not losing.

Of course he’ll also have to find a way to fit his and Ronaldo’s ego in the same room.

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  • Dexy

    Excellent article claire me old girl, and very well researched. The man is a legend, 14 trophies in 10 years tells a story.

    To all those jealous idiots, mainly gooners who will say he is anti football need their heads tested, that Chelsea side with duff and robin was one of the best and most exciting premier league teams of all time.

    If anyone can make Real a force again it’s Jose, if not then that job is cursed!

  • chef

    brilliant article………….
    very well written and someone obviously did thier homework
    well done wee yin…
    as for the special boy
    hes not one of me faves
    but the man is a genius no doubt about that
    defensive football is fine as long as it is effective
    and hes got that fine tuned
    i knew theyd put messi in thier back pocket
    real will be a different test as u always think of them and flambouyance
    in the same sentence………..
    and ofcourse the tulls nailed it dead on
    by saying real will have to do some major reno.s to fit in the special boys egoes…..ha!!
    great piece

    congrats miss tully

  • Paul

    Jose is a one off. I mean, what sort of a man could turn up at the biggest league in the world and announce himself as the special and pull it off?

    Respect, the man is a winner and NOT one manager will relish going up against him.

    I’ll put my mortgage on Real winning the Champions League in 2 years

  • http://facebook joe

    jose is the best manager in the football world,he will fit in perfectly in Madrid they allready have one of the best strike force and midfielders in the world so with Jose knowing as playing defensive football will be a match made in heaven for both parties,i will go for him winning the laliga in he first year in charge and the champions league in 3 years if not sooner.when he finished winning trophies at Madrid i can see him moving to england and manage Liverpool and bring the glory days back to Antfield,they need a special manager at this time and moment.

  • Michael

    Yep I agree, interesting article; you’ve got a nice style

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