Jose Mourinho is no longer the Special One
Jose Mourinho has fallen off and from his high horse, it’s been a rather shuddering drop.
Since 2012, the Special One has been anything but. Whether fans and pundits like to admit it or not, Mourinho is no longer the untouchable manager he once built his reputation upon. A sorry end to his Real Madrid tenure, a Chelsea return that ended in ignominy and a sticky start at Manchester United have tarnished his record to an unprecedented degree.
This season has seen the Red Devils make a sorrier start to their campaign than they had done under both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal. All this, yet the Scott and Dutchman are viewed as club enemies compared to the God-like status Mourinho maintains regardless. Furthermore, unlike his predecessors, the Portuguese was allowed to break the transfer world-record to meet the his own needs.
Even with Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at his disposal though, United linger seventh in the table and with just one league win in six games. Furthermore, last weekend saw them utterly trounced at the hands of Chelsea in a fixture that displayed frankly criminal defending. Also, Van Gaal had been panned by fans for his negative football, but Mourinho’s 0-0 draw at Anfield fed off an eerily similar philosophy.
This isn’t mentioning the choke in the Manchester derby or the pitiful 1-1 draw with then bottom of the table Stoke City either. Sure, Mourinho was never expected to waltz in and cherry pick the title, but the Red Devils’ start to the season has been overwhelmingly disappointing. He vowed to undo the damage of the past three years yet has simply matched the football and results of those troubling seasons.
Should the powers that be at Old Trafford be surprised though? No, they really shouldn’t.
The decline of the Special One has been apparent since 2012 when his arrogance and stubbornness saw his Real Madrid team deteriorate in front of him. Naming his last season at the Bernabeu as the worst of his career, Mourinho’ downfall was earmarked by outrageous rows with Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas. This was despite the fact, just one year earlier, he led them to the La Liga title with a record breaking tally.
The 53-year-old was guilty of the exact same crime during his second Chelsea spell when he ignored the ageless advice to never go back. His Blues romped their way to the title in 2015 yet executed the Premier League’s worst ever title defence the following season. In the space of four months, Chelsea plummeted from world beaters to whipping boys in mid-table.
Nevertheless, United have drawn on Mourinho’s record. After all, pre-2012, his trophy tally is astonishingly impressive.
However, his recent wane is painfully noticeable. Between 2008 and 2012, the Special One garnered eight pieces of silverware at Real and Inter Milan respectively. In the following four years though, he has just three trophies to his name and one proves the Community Shield. Many managers would be happy with the latter record, but considering Mourinho’s imperious status, it’s a rather disappointing tally.
If we look more recently, the signs of decay are even more apparent with Mourinho’s win frequencies taking a nose dive. He’s lost 13 of his last 26 league games despite the 13 defeats before then spanning 135 fixtures. In addition, he’s made his worst ever start to a season since he first set foot on English shores as a manager in 2004. You can’t argue with the evidence and it’s amounting to a concerning degree.
No matter how far Mourinho falls though, it’s becoming apparent that the glamour and gold rush of his early career will continue to tantalise clubs. Despite the fact he is a short-term option who’s apparent guarantee of success is now being cast into doubt, he attracts some kind of cult. He drags a club’s public image through the mud, ruthlessly strips his squads and stifles the progress of young players.
The ex-Inter Milan boss’ mind games are no longer novel and his mute press conferences now provoke eye rolling as oppose to amusement. His berating of referees is tiresome and predictable and erratic tactics appear egotistic, not meticulously planned.
Yet what keeps club coming in for him is his record and swollen trophy cabinet. However, that one positive could and is beginning to slip away from him as poor result after poor result tumbles in. The longer the 53-year-old goes without consistent and rediscovered success, the quicker clubs will realise that he isn’t as special as he says he is. The bottom line is, Mourinho is very, very beatable.
Still one of the very best, yet Mourinho is headed nowhere but down and his once untarnished reputation is coming with him. For Christ’s sake, Moyes made a better start at Old Trafford, do I need to say anything else?
YJA Senior Correspondent