Has Jose Mourinho Bought Success Everywhere? Not Quite…
There is no doubting that Mourinho is a fantastic coach and tactician but the large fees he has spent on players to seemingly achieve his success has put a taint over his career for some. It is true that wherever he has gone he has had a more expensively assembled squad than all his domestic rivals.
Porto spent far more than anyone else in Portugal during his time there, Chelsea’s Roman revolution blew all the Premier League rivals away, Inter had gained massively in the demise of Juventus and AC Milan who had both been punished for match fixing, whilst at Real Madrid he came second best 2 time out of 3 in a 2 team league with a number of Galacticos at his disposal. However I don’t think this tells the full story for a number reasons.
He won the Champions League with a Porto side with far less money to spend and quality within the squad than most of the competitions more illustrious names. Financially that Porto side was nowhere near as strong as Barcelona, Man United or Real Madrid but they still found a miraculous way to win and that is hugely to his credit.
At Inter Milan he domestically was able to run the roost in terms of spending money and therefore league titles but despite spending decent sums of cash, he spent nothing like the amount mainly Real Madrid alongside Man United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Barcelona had spent. He also knocked out the great Barcelona side under Pep Guardiola along the road to winning the title, an achievement of tactical intelligence and organisation that only Jose could produce.
At Real Madrid he spent a lot once more but this was actually less than was spent before and after his time at the Bernabeu, as they paid astronomical fees for the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. However on that occasion his trophy tally was for once lacking due to a certain Catalan rival team at the time.
Even at Chelsea you can make a case for him achieving a lot despite inheriting a very strong side and then dishing out millions to improve it ever more. He took over a side that hadn’t yet discovered the winning formula and he would turn out to be the man to take them to that next level, which he achieved in style.
This was easier said than done as he had to change the club’s mentality and break the ice of new kids on the block to great champions and for this he also deserves great credit. As other managers in charge of top clubs have found out to their peril in recent years, the Premier League is very unpredictable and anybody can beat anyone. So for him to rack up the record points total he did, losing only 1 games in his first season, was phenomenal as literally everybody was swept aside by his blue winning machine in his first 2 seasons at the Bridge.
Tactically you cannot deny that he is a genius. The fact that he could get some of the world’s most expensive players of whom he bought, to buy into and be fully committed to his organised, compact style in big games is an example of superb man management skills. His team selections and substitutions are on another level additionally.
The most notable recent occasion being when he brought on Modric in the Champions League against Man United a few years ago. The decision was integral to outwit Ferguson and eventually turn the tide of the closely fought tie. His understanding of the game and of what is needed is that of a true genius and this you certainly cannot deny. In interviews John Terry has marvelled at how he would predict the exact time his team or the opponents would score and almost always be spot on. Money or not, he is simply the best tactician in world football.
Another point that bares no escaping is how he helped improve players and make them reach a level that they had never reached before under his leadership. The prime examples being Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mesut Ozil, Diego Milito, Wesley Sneijder, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Maicon. In the case of a few players mentioned there, they would never reach the heights they achieved under Jose’s stewardship after he left.
The most notable case of this post-Mourinho demise being Diego Milito, who fired Inter Milan to Champions League glory with 2 goals in the final to see off Bayern Munich. This shows that whether he buys expensive players or not, he improves them, which is something that a manager solely reliant on money and big names in his squad wouldn’t be able to do. In addition a lot of young coaches have improved themselves and become top managers having been under his wing.
Steve Clarke, Brendan Rodgers and Andre Villas-Boas spring instantly to mind. Showing that there is a lot to learn from the Portuguese and that he is a great educator of the game. A top manager that has won all Mourinho has won, can’t achieve that without good reason and he is a top coach that has spent his money wisely and when needed, often being impulsive in the transfer market.
Trophies weren’t guaranteed at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid but he made success a reality. Everybody in the world of modern day football management, which is all that managerially young Jose has known, is all about spending money at the top clubs. Long gone are the old days when you didn’t need to spend to win and he knows that, with there obviously being the occasional exception as Diego Simeone will tell you.
Those on the other side of the argument will suggest that during all his success he has always been at the big fish in the domestic league financially and not exactly a tadpole in the European market either. They will say that he tried a season without spending a lot at Chelsea last year and the experiment failed. At Porto he was in a one-team league at the time, at Chelsea he had a fortune at his disposal with Arsenal and United going through transition on his arrival, at Inter the competitors were still recovering from the Calciopoli scandal whilst at Madrid he was outclassed by Pep during the majority of his time there. The arguments come hard on from a lot of anti-Mourinho football fans.
However on the other hand he has basically won wherever he has been and some of the achievements and feet’s he has reached have been outstanding. Trebles at Porto (in his first season at a big club) and at Inter, which of course meant winning Europe’s premier club prize with both unfancied teams. Winning Chelsea’s first 2 league titles in such a dominant style un-matched by any other Premier league team to this day, amassing a record points total for the division along the way. He also won La Liga when Pep’s great Barcelona side with Messi firing on all cylinders, were near their peak. Another momentous achievement.
All this added to the numerous displays and acts of tactical genius down the years, that you could name on several hands. That added on top of all the players he has helped improve, with many having admitted that they loved working under him. For all these reasons I believe that Jose Mourinho has been helped by money but certainly not reliant on it. For all the questions marks against his name, the man is simply a genius and one of the best coaches we will ever see walk this earth.