Prior to Mark Hughes’ sacking and the appointment of Roberto Mancini at Manchester City the club were linked to Jose Mourinho. With Liverpool struggling and Rafa Benitez said to be on the way out the club were linked to Jose Mourinho. With Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson surely on his way to retirement soon the club have been linked to Jose Mourinho. Seeing a pattern here? It seems that every big club in England is destined to be linked to the former Chelsea man, why is this?
There’s no doubt that Jose’s a big character; his time at Chelsea will always be remembered for his memorable interviews, confrontations with opposition players and managers and his behaviour on the touchline. He’s one of those people who, even if you hate them, you’re still interested in watching them to see what they’ll do next. And hatred for Mourinho is surprisingly quite hard to find despite what a controversial character he is.
It is natural that those with previous success will be linked with jobs where success is available – in fact, the City job would surely have been pefect for Mourinho as he’s already proven that he can turn unlimited money into a title winning team – he didn’t make audacious bids for players who would never go for Chelsea, instead he turned to the likes of Didier Drogba and Michael Essien who were making names for themselves but were not yet world beaters and he helped them become world beaters. A great man manager but not such a great sportsman, Mourinho brought charm and controversy to the Premiership in equal doses.
And there’s no denying he was controversial – when he had a touchline ban his assistants would mysteriously speak into their woolly hats; he accused then-Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard of going into a referee’s dressing room which led to death threats for that referee; he admitted that he encouraged his players to cheat when at Porto and even tried to keep the ball away from Lazio players to time-waste back in a UEFA Cup tie a number of years back. Jose’s not the best of sports.
Compare him to the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez or Mark Hughes and you’ll see why Mourinho’s so popular in this country – England loves real characters and Mourinho had character to spare. But why is he linked to every job in the country? Well he’s said to be one of the best managers out there but is he really? Mourinho excelled with Porto but even he admitted that he cheated to achieve what they did. Then at Chelsea he had unlimited money to work with and did a much better job of it than Hughes did. At Inter he’s taken over a team that was already champions and has maintained that, allowing them to get weaker if anything as now their title rivals are closer to them than they were when he took over. Mourinho’s reputation is not mainly for his achievements but for himself and the character he brings and it leads to the man being overrated as a manager.
I’m sure that Mourinho will return to the Premiership one day but it’s unclear as to who exactly he will manage. Return to Chelsea maybe? Or would he replace Ferguson? Those seem the most likely but would he succeed in those roles? It’s hard to tell, with Mourinho we’re living off the glories he tells us of rather than what’s been achieved and sometimes sensibility is more important than showmanship.