Posts Tagged ‘Jose Mourinho’

"Talking nonsense? Me?!"

“Talking nonsense? Me?!”

There are certain managers for whom every public utterance is scrutinised, dissected and happily challenged by the frothing wolves of a media pack all too eager to sink their teeth into any perceived contradictions or mistruths. For the modern-day football manager the media are every inch as formidable an opponent as the identity of the man in the next dugout, a foe to be taken lightly at their peril. For every manager that is, except Jose Mourinho, for whom every laughably absurd and self-serving address is treated with as much deference and sincerity as though it were delivered from a mount in the Middle East a few millennia ago.

In fact, it’s difficult to think of a more prolific expounder of nonsense in the world of football than the Portugese for whom every campaign can be filed into one of two categories; the successful ones and the ones in which he was cheated. For in Jose’s world there can be no other explanation for short-comings. Eliminated from the Champions League at Camp Nou? Clearly the referree’s fault and not the person responsible for playing Robert Huth up front. Lose a Champions League Semi-final against a Liverpool side costing a fraction of his own team? Clearly the fault of the linesman and nothing to do with his own side’s failure to resister a single attempt on target over 180 minutes against a defence containing Djimi Troare. Unable to budge Barcelona from their perch? Why, a Uefa conspiracy, of course, and nothing to do with an inability to get the best out of the most expensively assembled side in the history of the game. (more…)

Coming to a Ground Near You?

Coming to a Ground Near You?

A world without war; Sky Sports News free of hyperbole; a corrupt-free FIFA – next season’s Premiership promises to trump all of the above in terms of the unimaginable: a Premier league campaign with no Alex Ferguson.

So large has Ferguson’s shadow loomed over the landscape of English football that the great Scot’s departure from the Manchester United hotseat has ensured next season promises to be the most open title race for years. Ferguson’s retirement, it can be argued, will affect the hopes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal just as much as United themselves.

In truth Ferguson’s departure couldn’t have come at a worse time for the great soap opera that is the Premier League. With more and more of the games top stars choosing to ply their trade in Spain, Italy and nouveau riche France and Russia, the last thing the English game needed was to lose it’s JR Ewing. Whether one regarded Ferguson as the greatest manager in the history of the game or a manipulative bully, constantly found out in Europe, there’s no denying the Scot was compelling viewing. (more…)

"I Know, I can't believe it either!"

“I Know, I can’t believe it either!”

Anyone looking to measure the contribution made by foreign managers to the Premier League would do well to avoid the LMA (League Managers Association) roll of honours- a list with as much of a cosmopolitan feel as your average BNP rally. Since its inauguration in 1994 only one manager from outside the British Isles has been acknowledged by his peers as that season’s highest achiever, with Arsene Wenger winning in 2002 and again in 2004.

By contrast the annual bauble has been collected by an Englishman on a record seven occasions, with Danny Wilson, Peter Reid, George Burley, Roy Hodgson, Frank Clarke, Alan Pardew and Steve Coppell all receiving higher recognition from their peers than the likes of Jose Mourinho, Roberto Mancini, Carlo Ancelotti and Rafael Benitez – all of whom won either domestic or European trophies during their time in England. It’s an extraordinary statistic when one considers that none of the aforementioned Englishmen have so much as a league cup between them. (more…)

As a Liverpool fan it pains me to say it, but Chelsea’s next manager should be Rafa Benitez.

The Press seem adamant the path is clear for a triumphant home-coming for crowd favourite Jose Mourinho, but the chances of that are between zero and zilch. Mourinho is nothing if not smart and he knows the work required to return Chelsea to the top is not so much cosmetic as of excavation proportions.

Mourinho acolytes rightly point to his impressive record of success wherever he’s been, but they are decidedly less vociferous when the conversation turns to his squad-building prowess. Everywhere Mourinho has enjoyed success he has inherited either the strongest squad in that country (Porto and Inter) or arguably the strongest squad in the world (Chelsea and Real). Mourinho’s three stand-out signings over his career thus far have been Drogba, Essien and Ozil, but all three were already world class footballers coveted by Europe’s top clubs. (more…)

In his legendary 1993 performance on Clive Anderson Talks Back, Peter Cook, in the guise of fictional football manager, Alan Latchley, assessed then England supremo Graham Taylor’s underwhelming performances with the national team: “No other manager could have got those results with those players“, he deadpanned. I was reminded of Cook’s ingenious assessment of Taylor when watching Real Madrid’s recent Spanish Cup games with Barcelona. No other manager could get those players to play that brand of football, I thought.

Negative, Über-defensive, cowardly, petulant, nasty – the list of negative adjectives we associate with a Jose Mourinho team are nothing if not consistent. How a squad containing the likes of Ronaldo, Kaka, Ozil, Alonso, Benzema et al can produce the kind of anti-football we’ve witnessed since the Portuguese’ appointment 18 months ago is truly astonishing. It’s like winning the lottery and still not having the price of a pint. (more…)