If one were to describe Jose Mourinho in one word, it would quite simply be “controversy”. The Chelsea manager seems to have an almost constant need for publicity, to have the camera’s focus on him. He’s always crying himself hoarse about some sort of controversy against his team- whether it be the FA, UEFA, the referees or the media who’s the culprit.
It’s no easy task keeping the blame game going, but Mou has proved time and time again that there’s no one better. 11 years ago he announced his arrival on the big stage by leading a squad of underdogs to the UEFA Champions League at Porto.
Ambitious Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wasted no time in bringing him to Stamford Bridge and life at Chelsea began with the epic “I’m the Special One” comment during his first press conference. That set the tone for Mourinho’s brash, arrogant first spell at Chelsea – he led the team to back to back Premier League titles and became the darling of the fans.
However, perhaps he was too emboldened by his success to realize it was the owner’s writ that ran at Stamford Bridge and a refusal to play expensive signing Andriy Shevchenko resulted in his sacking. That though, was only a minor hiccup for Brand Mourinho. Successful stints at Inter Milan (where he won his second Champions League) and Real Madrid followed. Each new trophy seemed to feed his ego, and his audacity grew as well. His relationship with the Spanish media in particular, was terrible.
When he decided to leave Real Madrid at the end of his second season in charge, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Fate bought him back to Chelsea, where a supposed heal in his relationship with Abramovich meant he got another shot at European glory with the Blues. This second spell, however, has turned out to be worse with respect to Master Mou’s verbal ferocity. He hasn’t shied away from attacking referees, and the FA seem to be a particularly favourite target.
He’s also gone a step further- he’s attacked his own staff. The recent jibe at medics Eva Carneiro and John Fern when they went onto to the pitch to treat an apparently injured Eden Hazard, when they were already down to 10 men was absolutely ridiculous. Moreover, he seems to have attained the status of supreme emperor- the duo were banished from working with the first team when Carneiro dared to speak up. There’s no one to control him.
Why, though? Why does Mourinho do this? The reason is simple: Team Unity. His logic is “Us against the world”. Mourinho binds his entire team together, promoting loyalty towards the team and himself by portraying other elements as villains. Indeed, team spirit in a side managed by the Portuguese is unparalleled. This works perfectly for Mou, as his gameplan is often based on defensive solidity and when all 11 members of a team work hard to get back the ball after loss of possession, you are pretty much unstoppable at times.
On traitors though, Mourinho is ruthless. He dropped many a starter from Claudio Ranieri’s team when they refused to work hard during his first spell at Chelsea. Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas also suffered the same fate at Real when they questioned Mou’s methods. Juan Mata, the cheerful Player-of-the-season for two years running at Chelsea, was forced to seek a move to Manchester when Mourinho froze him out arbitrarily.
Also unmatches is his ability to play mind games with rival managers. While he respected Sir Alex Ferguson and hence didn’t say much to him, Arsene Wenger was not so lucky. The Frenchman was branded “a specialist in failure” by Mourinho and so brutal has been his domination over him that Wenger has only won once in 15 meetings against the Portuguese.
Yet another eternal rival is Manuel Pellegrini- the Chilean harassed by Mourinho right from the time he managed Malaga and Mourinho Real. More often than not Mourinho manages to get away with murder as his teams produce sparkling results. However, this season his luck seems to have run out.
Chelsea have endured a defending Champion’s worst start to a season since the Blackburn of 1995/96 and they really need to get their act together. With the manager engrossed in off field duels as usual, it’s fair to say that the Blues are going to struggle unless he manages to get his act together.