Jose Mourinho’s Big-game Modes: How He Tweaks And Shifts
Is he dull and defensive? Is he the serial pragmatist? The answers will follow maybe long after the man retires, but it remains in the backseat for now. Jose Mourinho’s appetite for winning games is clearly on a different pedestal; he remains the bonafide big-game man. How often have we seen Jose outwitted by an opposition number? Such instances are countable on the fingers, such is the Portuguese’s success rate in big matches.
But how does he manage it? Has he still got fuel in the tank? He has gone through myriad changes ever since he first stepped up for the top job. A fair few evolutions and revolutions later, his hunger remains intact, albeit with tweaks and changes. Analyzing his tactics for the bigger tests is a challenge; you can be assured of unpredictability with the canny Jose, and he seldom disappoints. Chelsea face a few cup finals in the season’s final third; they are playing catch-up in the league and the Champions League and they would need Mourinho to be at his elements as the chequered flag becomes more and more visible.
Too much has been made of his tendency to win at all costs; that’s fair enough when losing costs your job these days. Here we tactically analyze how Mourinho sets his team up for the bigger tests, and why Chelsea have every chance of turning around their deficit against PSG.
1. A DEFENSE THAT SITS DEEPER THAN A WELL
Mourinho’s teams are modern football’s anomalies. Incredibly successful teams tend to play on the frontfoot, even against stronger opponents. But one thing Mourinho is particularly good at is his ability to defensively outsmart opposition. Here’s a trivia to blow your minds off: Jose Mourinho’s teams conceded the least number of goals in a league season ever since he joined Porto and the record stayed on up until his time at Real Madrid. Chelsea, too, have the best defensive record this season. The reason for this? A risk-free strategy of a deep defense. John Terry’s advancing years and Gary Cahill’s lumbering approach means that there is lesser scope for a higher line of defense. And Chelsea have been incredibly good at defending set-pieces, a vital aspect that makes them so sound with a deep defense.