From 'special one' to 'frustrated one': Jose Mourinho's life has come full circle

Ranit Das
Ranit DasMar 23, 2018 | 19:14

From 'special one' to 'frustrated one': Jose Mourinho's life has come full circle

Vexatious rants, cold-blooded criticism and harsh judgements are the highlights of Jose Mourinho's life at Manchester United over the past two weeks.

People who follow football have been taken aback by this new side of Mourinho, who is unapologetic, rude and "alive" even though he has always been someone who hasn't held back from giving headlines to the press.

This is a side of Mourinho very few people expected to see, but it's finally here as fans and pundits mount the pressure on the United manager.


After United's unceremonious exit from the Champions League at the hand of Sevilla last week, people have not shied away from taking potshots at him and United's style of play. To which, he openly came out and reminded the fans and people that United getting knocked out is nothing new to them.


Rude awakening

"That is not the end of the world. I sit in this chair twice in the Champions League and I knock Man United out at home at Old Trafford," he told reporters.

"I sit in this chair with Porto, Man United out, I sit in this chair with Real Madrid, Man United out. So is not something new for the club and of course being Manchester United manager and losing a Champions League tie at home is a disappointment, obviously."

A week later, just before the FA Cup tie versus Brighton, which United won 2-0, in his viral 12-minute rant, he went a step further and reminded the United fans about their "heritage".

"I say to the fans that the fans are the fans and have the right to their opinions and reactions but there is something that I used to call 'football heritage'. I don't know if, I try to translate from my Portuguese, which is almost perfect, to my English, which is far from perfect - 'football heritage', what a manager inherits," said Jose.


"In seven years with four different managers, once not qualify for Europe, twice out in the group phase and the best was the quarter-final. This is football heritage," he added after reminding everyone about United's result in the past seven years.

After the Brighton match, he came in and blasted every player for their performances and singled out Luke Shaw, especially while explaining his decision to sub him off at half-time.

"It was a decision of one player for another player in the same position. I wanted to defend better, I want my defensive line to be more solid in relation to a few, not many.

"But a few offensive movements they made from the sides and I wanted more personality in the team because many times I felt that Matic was an island of personality of desire and control surrounded by not water, but lack of personality, lack of class and lack of desire."

Pep factor

This is where it gets interesting and the question arises about him. If ex-players and his antics are to be seen, he has never come out and lambasted his players in the open. He has never singled out one player for so much criticism in the past, like he has done with Shaw.


Mourinho, it seems, is finally crumbling under the enormous pressure of failing to live up to the brand of football his "nemesis" Pep Guardiola is so successfully displaying with his Manchester City side.

This is also what United fans are used to, but Mourinho's inability to deliver that has frustrated fans and after the horrendous tactical blunder over the two legs against Sevilla, it looks like, he is in fear of a backlash.

This is a Mourinho, who is in defence mode and is trying to avoid hard questions and reality, hiding behind his glorious past. He has failed to get the best out of Paul Pogba and his decision to not "pass out" on Alexis Sanchez in the winter has disrupted a fully functioning left wing. With Sanchez not performing and Pogba out of sorts and United vying for just the FA Cup, Mourinho's generally "best" second season stat has gone up in flames.

One shouldn't really question his style of football because this is what brought him tremendous success over the years and he is right when he says that he won't change. When he came in 2004, he announced himself as the "special one" and took the Premier League by storm and he believes that he should stick to it. Contradictorily, he has always been someone, who has looked to capitalise on situations and adapt accordingly.

Who can forget him throwing Luka Modric immediately after Nani was red-carded against Real Madrid in 2013 and that's where the goal came from.

So, is he missing a trick by not changing his tactics when the game has moved on? Is his style becoming age old in the times of a well-oiled Tottenham, an adventurous Liverpool or a rampaging City? Probably yes.

But attacking football was there in 2004 as well, and we all know what he did back then. His defensive play, focus on structure and hitting on the break was a huge hit in London and he broke Barcelona's monopoly in Spain as well. He didn't have successful seasons following them but this Jose was nowhere to be seen.

All in the head?

What is so different this time then? If one studies him, it can be said that it has something to do with his mindset. His mindset and handling the media has a huge part behind his tremendous success till date.

This is where the problem lies now. He is no longer the "darling" manager he was, the English media has the likes of Pep, Juergen Klopp to give headlines.

They have Antonio Conte as well, who takes digs, and it's a fun game. Jose enjoys the limelight and he is not getting it right now - neither on the field, nor off. This has to be playing at the back of his mind, leading to such defence out in the media.

His work at United genuinely can't be questioned, to be honest. Yes, they were knocked out in the Champions League pre-quarters, knocked out of the League Cup early and his team is 16 points behind leaders City. But, he inherited a broken ship and with that, he won two titles in his first year and United are likely to finish second or at third, if things go badly south in the league after a long, long time. So, the work is positive.

But, somewhere, the pressure of performing and outmatching the club's cross-town rival and his nemesis has slowly got to him it seems, resulting in such outrageous outbreaks in public - something that is so not Mourinho-esque.

He was a manager who was adored by his players and used to glue them together. But his handling of Shaw and Pogba at times and behaviour in the media lately, is slowly beginning to hurt his own "heritage" on a personal note.

Time has definitely taken its toll. 14 years and some lacklustre performances later, he is increasingly looking like the "frustrated one".

But, don't write him off yet, he never gives up and loves to prove everyone wrong. And this time, the media and everyone around him are waiting to see that.


Last updated: March 23, 2018 | 19:14
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