Where To Now For Jose Mourinho?
Jose Mourinho. The Special One. The Happy One. The Sacked One.
The last time I wrote about Jose Mourinho, was back in March 2016, 24 days before he was announced as the new manager of Manchester United.
The piece I wrote received some negative reviews from United fans, who were up in arms that I dared mention that Mourinho was not the right man to take the reigns at United.
Fast forward to 18 December 2018, just days after losing to rivals, Liverpool, and those very same United fans are celebrating the end of the Mourinho era at United.
Soccer betting sites could soon have odds for Mourinho’s next destination – but where will he go after life at Old Trafford?
I’ve always had a soft spot for Mourinho – as a Chelsea fan, I owe him a lot of credit for where the club finds itself at the moment. Having him at United always hurt a little, but the pain was somewhat numbed by his lack of major success at the club.
Having pissed off his employers (and some players) at Real Madrid and Chelsea before his stint at United, one has to wonder where Jose will go next in his career.
My opinion? The man needs a break– this is something he needed as soon as things started to unravel after his second stint at Chelsea.
Truth be told, Mourinho has lost his edge. People have figured him out and that’s something he’s not been able to adequately deal with.
Gone are the days where a manager can have one philosophy and find success with it, over and over again, in the same league and against the same teams. What works in one season, does not necessarily work in the next – look at Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2014/15, compared to his Chelsea in 2015/16 – the same comparison can be made with Antonio Conte’s first and second season at the club.
For the most part, they had the same players in season 1 and 2, but other teams had figured out how to nullify the threats.
Mourinho’s greatest asset has now become his greatest liability – his arrogance. Faced with the prospect that maybe his philosophy is not as effective as it once was, his arrogance has rendered him unable to adjust to find new ways of winning football games.
His list of excuses is almost as long as his accolades and he’s now run out of things to blame for United’s recent struggles – and those of his own.
If Mourinho were to take a break, he won’t be the first manager to do so. It did wonders for Pep Guardiola before he joined Bayern in what was to be a very successful first season and I believe it will work just as well for Arsene Wenger whom I hope we get to see back in the dugout, early in 2019.
When your ideas or environment becomes stale, it often helps to take two or even three steps back, to observe things from the outside. This release of pressure can open the eyes of a manager, allowing him to spot flaws and shortcomings in himself and the way he sets teams up to play.
I don’t for one moment believe that Jose Mourinho is done with coaching, or done with success. But I do believe that he needs some time away from football to reflect on his time as a manager, assess where the modern game is moving towards, and plot a way to get back ahead.
Jose Mourinho has brought a lot to the game of football – it would be a pity not to see him back at his best.