Can Jose Mourinho really claim to be the “special one” anymore?

Don’t let a North London derby victory fool you; the question of whether or not Jose has lost his “special” touch still remains.

Jose Mourinho is a coach who has not only captivated the British media within the 21st century but most importantly, the world of football. 

Let’s start at the beginning. Mourinho first rose to a global standing in football when he won the 2003 UEFA Cup and 2004 Champions League with FC Porto. His role as manager of the Portuguese side came to an end where he became manager of Chelsea FC – on 2 June 2004. 

In one of his first press conferences after joining the English side, he told reporters: “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.” – hence the nickname. 

With the club, he went on to win back to back titles including the Premier League in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons – which was the first time in 50 years for the club. As well as winning the league cup twice, the FA cup once and the community shield (2005).

To the surprise of Chelsea fans – by mutual consent – Mourinho departed the club in 2007 and went on to manage Inter Milan in 2008. In his first season at the club, Mourinho won the Supercoppa Italiana after Inter beat Roma on penalties and they finished top of Seria A. 

Although he won the Supercoppa, Mourinho was not a fan favourite as his team failed to improve from the performance of his predecessor Roberto Mancini in the champions league – after Inter were knocked out in the first knock out round by Manchester United. 

A few years later in 2010, Mourinho was appointed manager of Real Madrid. He started off strongly at the club after beating the club’s rivals Barcelona. As well as this, he went onto win three pieces of silverware with the club including the Liga title, Copa del Rey and the Spanish Supercup. 

Mourinho departed Real Madrid in 2013 after losing to Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey final. Mourinho himself described the 2012/13 Real Madrid season as the “worst of my career”. 

From the years 2013-2019, Mourinho returned to England. From 2013 to 2016, Mourinho returned to West London to manage Chelsea. During his second stint as manager, he won the league cup once again, but he also brought signings such as Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Thibaut Coutois, and saw the return of fan favourite Didier Drogba. 

After leaving Chelsea once again by “mutual consent” in 2015, Mourinho became manager of the Red Devils – Manchester United. In his first season, he won the community shield, the League cup and UEFA Europa League. Towards the end of his leadership at Man U, in the 2018/19 season, the club started off poor and had only seven wins from 17 Premier League games. He was later sacked on 18 December 2018.

This takes us up to now as Mourinho was appointed manager of Tottenham Hotspur on 20 November 2019. Since becoming manager, he has seemed to make Spurs worse, which leaves us to question he simply doesn’t have the “magic touch” anymore – after only having one win in nine. 

Unlike other clubs he has previously managed, Mourinho has not had the money – provided by owner Joe Lewis and chairman Daniel Levy – to spend on some of the worlds biggest players compared to what he had at Chelsea under Roman Abramovich. However, it is not this he can solely blame his failure on to make the club great as his demise did not start at Spurs. 

Although he did win trophies at Man United, it was not up to the bar he had previously set for himself in the past such as his first stint at Chelsea. Perhaps this is because the style of footballer has changed, or it was Mourinho in his younger day that was his prime.

The trouble is – which doesn’t make him the special one anymore – is he doesn’t meet the expectations of what people assume of him anymore. Mourinho’s speciality has always been to have a mastermind backline. His defensive and pragmatic approach has not proved successful at Manchester United and Tottenham. The Red Devils conceded 29 goals under Mourinho and well Spurs defence has been atrocious… Jose was brought in to improve this, however he has failed to do so.

The other problem with Jose is his arrogance. Yes, at the start of his managerial career he had the right to gloat as he was the “next big thing”, and he proved that by winning endless amounts of silverware. However, in recent years, this arrogance hasn’t mirrored results. So, it not only proves unpopular with fans but also the players as there have been certain players he has not been on the best terms with. 

More recently at Spurs he has fell out with record signing Tanguy Ndombele, but in the past he has publicly fallen out with the likes of Mario Balotelli, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and many others. 

This is what I think is a main reason why he has not been successful so far at Spurs as his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino united the club together, and when fans watched it was an enjoyment to watch this youthful team come together – even if they were losing. However, since Mourinho, this feeling of unification is gone, and from the view of a Spurs fan, it becomes embarrassing to watch this team now compared to what they were only a year ago.

After you take these reasons into hand, it makes it clear Mourinho is not up to the standard he used to be. The new era of managers moves on to people like Jurgen Klopp and Mourinho’s former Barca rival Pep Guardiola. This leaves the former “special one” as an average manager now and doesn’t make him stand out from the rest.

Whether it is the clubs he has been at, the players he has managed or his style of management, it is clear Mourinho isn’t up to scratch anymore and it may finally be time we move away from the era of the “special one” and onto the new era of football.

By Katie Green

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