Eight league titles, two Champions Leagues and seven domestic cups. All achieved in the space of just 12 years by Jose Mourinho. Four poor months does not make him a poor manager. Despite a difficult start that resulted in his sacking as manager of Chelsea, Mourinho is still the Special One. There is no doubt he had a shocking start to the season, but does that make him a bad manager?
The Portuguese coach can feel hard done by that he took the blame for Chelsea’s poor form. His players let him down. Some of them may not like him, but that doesn’t give them the right to not perform for him. Mourinho did all he could to succeed at Chelsea this season, but it was just no use. Not enough of the players were behind him to allow him to put together a successful team, he had no chance.
This was just one small failure in the magnificent career the 52-year-old has had so far. Even his second spell at Chelsea had been a success, leading the Blues to their first Premier League title in five years in May. He still has the sort of tactical nous that most managers only dream of. In his first season back at Stamford Bridge, he took Chelsea to a 2-0 win away at Liverpool to end the Reds’ title hopes, while his sides win away at Manchester City was a master class in counter attacking football.
For whichever club that eventually employs Mourinho, he comes with priceless knowledge of football across Europe. He has won league titles in all four nations that he has managed in, with clubs who have traditionally struggled once he departed, with Real Madrid the only exception. At Porto, Mourinho took a very inexperienced side not only to the league championship, but to Champions League glory too. Since his exit, they have failed to progress past the quarter-finals.
It was a similar story in Italy, where the self proclaimed “Happy One” took Inter Milan to the Champions League title. In doing so, he took a team out of Serie A, a league at its weakest point for many years, and made them Europe’s best team. There are very few, if any, other managers in the history of football who would have been able to achieve these feats. There is hardly a club in Europe that would say no to having Jose Mourinho as their next manager.
The 52-year-old has been heavily linked with the Manchester United job replacing Louis van Gaal, but he might not be the man the Red Devils need. He has not always been one lobbying the all out attacking football that the Old Trafford faithful demand, and he has not been a popular figure with the United fans ever since his infamous run down the touchline in celebration of Porto’s aggregate victory over them in 2004.
There is no doubting that Mourinho is still capable of these magical moments in football, and whichever club he ends up at, he will always be the Special One.