Mourinho the master

This season was always going to be one of unpredictability. With the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson the seat at the head of the Premier League managers’ table was vacant for the first time in decades. The return of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea seemingly left this seat open for him to succeed and on the evidence this season this theory would seem correct.

It has been a different Mourinho we have seen so far; a more measured and relaxed approach to his job, which is to be expected due to his experience, but at the highest level remains unusual. In previous incarnations he has confronted almost every obstacle in his path to achieve success but there is something almost uneasy about his manner since returning. He appears jovial in front of the media and almost helpful in answering every question at length.

Perhaps after his experiences in Italy and Spain he has realised the antagonism he used so frequently in the past could be eased out. Or, is it the fact that he really is the stand out manager in the Premier League and has no need to get worked up. Currently Chelsea lie in third place, two points behind Arsenal, are through to the knock out stages in the Champions League and face, arguably their direct rivals for domestic domination, Manchester City in the FA Cup.

The season started rather unpredictably for Chelsea, too unpredictably for Mourinho, and they dropped points in games where they were not expected to and suffered a lot from inconsistent performances. The normally reliable defence was conceding goals from everywhere and despite their initial intentions of playing open, counter attacking football they had to resolve the defensive frailties.

Previously under Mourinho’s management the full-backs have played vital roles in attack as well as in defence but this was the first thing he changed. Both of his full-backs have rarely crossed the half way line, especially in big games, recently. The Portuguese tactician has reverted back to his strong organisational skills and made Chelsea very difficult to break down.

Allied to this the unpredictability of the strikers he has inherited and the importance of this change in approach becomes almost a necessity. The result of this has been more consistent performances and his players are now reaching the levels of performance he desires from his team.

During recent interviews he has seemed at so much ease with life at Chelsea and particularly in the Premier League. He has been positive about opponents ahead of games, laughing and joking with officials and has clearly been enjoying himself immensely.

What Mourinho has already identified is that he, out of all the coaches in direct competition with him, is the only winner. Everywhere he has managed he has experienced success and only at Madrid he departed without tears and emotional goodbyes. With Ferguson now gone there is nobody really worth sparring with.

His closest rivals are Manchester City this season and Manuel Pellegrini is something of an unknown quantity in terms of winning trophies. Despite an impressive career in management thus far he has won nothing of note in Europe. However, he does not seem like someone who would get into a verbal brawl with Mourinho so could be best to himself.

His response to Arsene Wenger’s criticism over the sale of Juan Mata to Manchester United caused no reaction. The comments from Wenger have not shown the Arsenal manager in a good light and Mourinho’s shadow casts long over the Frenchman. He has never beaten a Mourinho side and the latter’s disdain for Wenger during his last spell at Chelsea will not have been forgotten.

Against Liverpool recently Brendan Rodgers was shown to still be very much the apprentice and Manchester United are focusing on the top four rather than the title. With Tim Sherwood still unproven Spurs are unlikely to contest a title run in too which leaves Mourinho as the heir apparent.

During his tussles with Ferguson it was always clear that Mourinho had the ability and the drive to succeed in management at the highest level. He was the biggest and best rival of the former United manager’s and spurred him onto build another side which eventually won the Champions League.

Mourinho will dine at the head of the table for a long time in England unless a rival can break the cycle and become a genuine challenger again. If Chelsea win the league this season it could be the start of another dynasty.

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

2 Comments

  • Realist
    January 30, 2014 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    What a load of tosh!
    I reckon he will be pot less for quite a whole!
    Pellegrini’s man city will deal with him this season and next there will be a challenge from old Trafford too.
    Pull your head from between his butt cheeks will ya?!

  • bradley
    January 30, 2014 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Good job Andy! You know, this transfer window has reiterated several facts that we already knew -

    1 – mourinho is a genius both tactically and how he deals in the transfer market, he has shored up his midfield with that new signing and offloading Mata who couldn’t fit into the mourinho system even more to allow hazard and Oscar to get forward so people aren’t so worried about what to do with Torres because that midfield is packed with world class plus they got old man eto smashing them in because of the service he gets.

    2 – that Frenchman has a big mouth and he loves to run it off for the press, what the hell has Mata got to do with him? He’s not bidding, he’s such a child, just throwing his toys out of his own rather extravagant pram whenever there’s a microphone. That’s right Wenger man u spent 40 mill just for that arsenal game, you arrogant c@#$!!

    3 – the mighty toon really doesn’t have the power or isnt in the right position to hold on to their best players! Newcastle united in the January transfer window resembles Fenwicks at Christmas time, regally wrapped up in a bow and hand deliverred via private chopper – We won’t guarantee quality (Carroll) but there are the odd bargains (ba). Now with cabaye gone toon need to again rebuild the midfield, with time in this window running out gouff, Anita, tiote, sissoko are gonna be busy, and I think the best of Newcastles performances this season have been and gone, never have I wanted summer to come round quick enough, but I hope one thing is sure, as old Newcastle players go on to New pastures green one thing is for sure, they will never be as good a player as they were when they played for my team, ba, Carroll, given, enrique, jenas (how’s your fish bowl now?) I hope cabaye suffers the same fate in a side already packed with quality, better get yourself a comfy cushion for those cold away days!

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