Is Jose Mourinho Overrated? Part 1

In The Stands’ Rolly Pelovangu takes an in-depth look at the former Chelsea, Inter and current Real Madrid boss and asks the special question: Is Jose Mourinho overrated?

Iconoclastic; the act of challenging established ideas and customs common within a certain place or time and not merely for the sake of argument.

There is being iconoclastic and probing, but on the other hand there is also being overzealous and unnecessarily inquisitive. When it comes to football most people and opinion givers fall into the latter bracket, blinded perhaps by team colours.

Like for example, when a Manchester United fan (who lives in London may I add) once said to me that, quote; “Robin Van Persie is shit!”

Of course his opinions carry as much weight as a soufflé, but hey, is that iconoclasm or just overzealous drivel?! The answer in this case is pretty clear.

To question demotic norms and society-induced precepts is not a sin. Indeed, the great Greek philosopher Socrates turned such a practice into a philosophical art and condemned himself to an early grave doing so.

Likewise, we all remember that famous song-come-mantra now firmly enshrined in the minds of all nay-slayers; “They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said that the world was round…above the ho-ho-ho, whose got the last laugh now?!”

Ask yourself this – living at the time of that great explorer, would you have laughed at him and accepted the ‘flat’ Earth, or would you have backed him in his determination to show that our home – Mother Earth is indeed as round as Paddy Kenny’s belly during the off season?

So upon reading the headline to this article, what were your immediate reactions? Is Jose Mourinho, the man with too much to say, the so-called ‘Special One’, the guy who cannot do wrong, overrated and overhyped or not?

So after being jeered by Real Madrid fans despite sitting top of La Liga and beating Athletic Bilbao 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu, let’s discuss this…

Jose Mourinho Is Not A Good Coach

There is a significant difference between a coach and a manager. A great coach gets the best from his players, whilst a great manager oversees the whole project and gets results in that way by working alongside his understudies.

Arsene Wenger and Guus Hiddink for example are great coaches. They get the best out of the often not so great players that they have. On the other hand, Sir Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello are great managers – they get people working underneath them and through them expertly oversee the managerial aspect for a length of time.

Jose Mourinho is neither a good coach nor a great manager. The coaching part to his being was shown in the fact that under his tutelage, players like Arjen Robben, Glen Johnson, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Mateja Kezman, Joe Cole and Hamit Altintop became WORSE footballers playing under and his talent-destroying and equally stifling systems.

Nuri Sahin’s career is destroyed as almost was Sergio Canales’ and Mario Balotelli’s. Yep, at Inter one of Italian football’s brightest prospects was almost left to wither and die due to Mourinho’s inability to successfully coach him.

Jose Mourinho As A Manager & Tactician

As a player it is not difficult to play for Jose Mourinho; the Portuguese boss creates (rather deliberately) a siege mentality.

A ‘us vs them’ mentality which even Hitler and Goebbels used during World War II to garner support for the Third Reich.

By creating this mentality, the scared and irritated pack then become ‘at one’ with their Fuhrer and go to any lengths no matter how disgusting, or vicious, or snarling to get one over their opponents ‘just to prove a point’.

As a manager, Jose Mourinho thrives in this because it gives him less real work to do. A hated team will feel that they do not owe anything to anyone and so will act with less morals.

On the other hand, by creating his constant siege mentality, it allows for him to revel in his fantasy world which postulates that he is the Messiah amongst his team of embattled armada.

In reality, it is just a selfish, egotistical means he uses to pave over his managerial flaws. When Mourinho first came to England in the summer of 2004 his confidence, boldness and arrogance was admired, but by May 2007, most fans – including me an Arsenal fan – were cheering on Manchester United in the League. Why do you think that was?

In Italy he wound up normally phlegmatic Serie A managers with one Sicilian Chairman in particular threatening to ‘smack him in the mouth’.

This before Mourinho despicably taunted and personally mocked an innocent Claudio Ranieri – one of the nicest, most pleasant men and coaches in football today.

What he did and said to Ranieri, he cannot dare do or say to Ferguson, Guardiola, Capello or even Ancelotti as bullies hate being stood up to.

Jose Mourinho And His Questionable Tactics

People talk about Jose Mourinho’s tactics as if he was some sort of modern-day Bernard Montgomery.

This is the same Mourinho whose Chelsea side bored their way to the title in 2004/2005 when frankly the race for second and fourth place between Arsenal and Manchester United and Everton and Liverpool respectively was more interesting.

It is also the same Mourinho who screwed up his tactics in the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool in 2006 thus resulting in a 2-1 defeat, and laughably set his overconfident Real Madrid side up to go gung-ho at the Camp Nou in November 2010 only to be on the receiving end of a 5-0 humiliation!

Inter Milan Parking The Bus At The Camp Nou In 2010

Critics point to Mourinho’s scalp at the Camp Nou with Inter Milan back in May 2010. But conversely that was hardly the work of a tactical genius.

Ignoring the goal which never was from Bojan Krkic in injury-time, the lumping of 11 men and a dog behind the ball is something even Barry Fry can do. How much is Mourinho actually getting paid?

Funny how, when Tottenham went to Stamford Bridge six years earlier and got a 0-0 draw, a frustrated Jose Mourinho slammed Jacques Santini’s tactics as ‘parking the bus’, only for he himself to do the exact same thing years later. Anybody know the Portuguese word for hypocrite?

Part 2 of why Jose Mourinho is overrated looks at his success with FC Porto, Inter and Real Madrid and what can be learned from them.

You can read Part II here