The Consequences of Appointing Jose Mourinho

Inter Milan 2011, Real Madrid 2014 and Chelsea 2016, what do these three different squads have in common? These were all “Post-Jose Mourinho” squads after he had either been sacked or moved on to other challenges. For all his accolades and popularity, Mourinho has a stiff personality that always seems to inevitably wear on the patience of both fans and front office management.

Mourinho won the treble with Inter Milan in 2010. His team was loaded with international superstars from Samuel Eto’o to Wesley Sneijder. Mourinho dominated Serie A and this domination carried over to European competition. With the direction of Mourinho. it seemed as if Inter Milan was ready to compete with the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United in terms of global appeal. This wouldn’t last. Mourinho, rather quickly after winning the Champions League, decided he would chase his dream of managing Real Madrid. In theory, he was gone before Inter Milan had time to celebrate their championship. Since then, Inter Milan has only finished higher than fifth in Serie A once. Post-Mourinho Inter Milan has failed.

After Inter Milan, Mourinho made his way to Spain to lead Real Madrid. Instantly rocketing Real Madrid back to European success, Mourinho seemed to be in the good graces of both fans and management. His Real Madrid teams blew opponents out of the water, much to the applause of the fans. However, even though he had Real Madrid on the rise, it wasn’t long before Mourinho became public enemy number one. In 2013, he had a rather public falling out with club legend Iker Casillas. This was simply the first domino. After consistently benching Casillas and publicly shaming him, Mourinho lost the locker room. Both, club mainstays and newcomers, spoke out against Mourinho. More and more negative press came his way. As Mourinho failed to push past the semi-finals of the Champions League, front office management decided to pull the plug and sack Mourinho.

While he clearly brought the club a form of instant success, he started to wear out his welcome; a trend that would continue. In terms of trends, Real Madrid seemed to follow the “Post-Mourinho Guidelines” set by Inter Milan. Albeit, Real Madrid’s failings haven’t lasted as long as Inter Milan’s, they seemed to be in a hole after Mourinho left. In 2014, Madrid finished third in La Liga, a feat that is extremely troubling as the Spanish League is not nearly as deep as the English or the German leagues. To add salt to the wound, Mourinho’s successor, Carlo Ancelotti (who failed to bring domestic success) won the Champions League. While his tenure at Real Madrid was deemed bittersweet, one would be hard-pressed to see that once Real Madrid was able to rid themselves of Mourinho’s antics, they began to dominate the world.

After his tumultuous end with Real Madrid, Mourinho went home. He went back to Chelsea Being familiar with the English Premier League and his old stomping grounds, Mourinho seemed to be getting back into the groove of things. In his first year back, he managed to sell the club’s best player, Juan Mata, yet the atmosphere of the club was optimistic. As opposed to previous landings, the Chelsea fans and front office seemed okay with him moving a high profile player. In his sophomore season, Mourinho finally gave the club what they desired: The Premier League title.

Mourinho’s team was lead by a stiff backbone in Gary Cahill and Nemanja Matic, and a dynamic attacking combo of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard. After losing three games all season, Mourinho held the trophy high. All seemed well. However, it would all soon come crashing down. In 2015, Chelsea found itself in a free fall. Losing numerous games from the start, the reigning champions were in serious relegation consideration. Private spats turned public and Mourinho quickly lost the locker room. Worst, he lost the effort of the players on the football pitch. For a team that won the Premier League in the previous campaign, the wheels were coming off the club. To stop the free fall, the club pulled its support of Mourinho and sacked him. Instantly the squad played harder and faster. Still finishing nowhere near the top of the league, Chelsea did manage to fight off relegation. In the Post-Mourinho season, Chelsea dominated the league and won the English Premier League.

As Manchester United fans, we have had the luxury of only needing one manager for the past few decades: Sir Alex Ferguson. While Ferguson had numerous spats with players, he never lost the locker room. Nor, did Ferguson ever lose the support of either the fans or the front office. Upon his retirement, Manchester United expected to find a replacement whom would be on the sideline for a long tenure, emulating Ferguson in success on and off the pitch.

After offering two different managers the mantle, Manchester United finally turned to Mourinho once he was sacked by Chelsea. For all his fallouts with players and fans, Mourinho has found success at clubs.

As Manchester United tries to right the ship, and it seems to be working, we must be wary. For everything Mourinho is, his personality and mettle doesn’t fit Sir Alex Ferguson’s example that we long for. Is Manchester United just a stepping stone for Mourinho? He sure doesn’t stay at clubs for too long, so it’d be safe to assume Manchester United will eventually have to replace him. However, at said time, what will Manchester United look like? Will the locker room be split like Chelsea’s was two years ago? Or will we have a squad full of in their prime stars and aging veterans that will be able to take the sacking like a left hook to the chin, and keep on going?

After Manchester United’s front office fired Ferguson’s successor David Moyes in 2014, they appointed club legend Ryan Giggs to interim manager. As news broke, fans and media clamored to get a picture of the legendary winger at the helm of the squad. I still remember watching the game live, and to this day, have never seen anything like it. During his first game in charge, the cheers and applaud failed to quit. Everyone in the stadium was so loud, you could see the camera’s shake on the live feed. For a club that has built success on bringing young players up through the ranks and turning them into world superstars, appointing someone of Giggs’ stature is utterly exciting. While Giggs didn’t do anything spectacular as caretaker, other than subbing himself in during the last match, he also didn’t do anything wrong. He managed well considering the squad clearly needed an overhaul, but most importantly, he implied his playing style into his squad. The squad was exciting to watch, and finally, Manchester United were on the way to being Manchester United again.

While I’m not calling for Jose Mourinho to be fired, I am being skeptical. United’s squad looks ready to compete, and I’m excited. However, I can’t fail to look at his track record (especially the most recent job on his resume). Mourinho has burned every bridge he has crossed, and when he inevitably does this to Old Trafford, I think I know who will be there to pick up the pieces. It’ll be Giggs, backed by the players and the fans. Giggs will inevitably take Manchester United to previous heights only seen in the Sir Alex ‘era.

Written by Jordan Bullock


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