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Is Jose Mourinho’s Era As An Elite Football Manager Finally Over?

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It’s no longer news to anyone in the football world that Roma has sacked Jose Mourinho.

The 60-year-old is arguably the football coach with the highest street credibility and it will definitely be expected that his axing won’t go down well with many enthusiasts of the sport. The main argument was that the owners of the Giallorossi were indeed ungrateful for sacking Mourinho after he led them to two European finals in two years.

No matter how much you stan Jose Mourinho, you should not allow sentiments to cloud your reasoning. The owners of Roma had ambitious plans for the club under Mourinho’s reign. This is evident as they recruited the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Paulo Dybala, Andrea Belotti, and others to the Stadio Olimpico. After hiring Mourinho in May 2021, Dan Friedkin, the club president proudly said: “The appointment of Jose is a huge step in building a long-term and consistent winning culture throughout the club.

When fans demanded more from the Portuguese, he simply told journalists, “The Roma fans are the most incredible I have ever seen, the coach is called Jose Harry Mourinho Potter, and he raises expectations.”

Mourinho was sacked less than two days later after making this rather controversial statement.

Taking into consideration the quality of players at his disposal, the special one has certainly not lived up to expectations this season. The Giallorossi have lost 7 out of 20 Serie A games so far and five points separate them from the top 4. 

Roma supporters can’t really be blamed or criticized for demanding more from the former Chelsea boss. His win rate for all the matches he was in charge of during his two-and-a-half years spell as Roma’s manager is 49%. 

This is very well below the expectations of a man who once went a full Premier League season in charge of Chelsea and conceded only 15 goals. To further emphasize how incredible this is, Under the special one, Chelsea once played 38 matches and only conceded 15 goals!

Given everything that has unfolded with Roma, is Jose Mourinho still a master of his craft?

“The biggest ambition I have is to win the first Premiership match on 14 August”

“Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one”

“I love the players who love to win”

These were some of the statements made by Jose Mourinho during his first press conference as Chelsea manager in June 2004 after Roman Abramovich brought him in to materialize his ambitions for the club.

And that is exactly what Mourinho did!

After recruiting the likes of Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and Arjen Robben, the Blues under Mourinho went on to win back-to-back Premier League titles as well as trophies while breaking numerous records along the way.

The major records he broke were:

  • Chelsea kept 25 clean sheets in the 2004-05 season, a record that still stands today.
  • Mourinho’s 95-point haul in 2005 remains the best performance by a manager in their first season after gaining promotion to the top flight.
  • Mourinho achieved this feat in 2005, adding the FA Cup to Chelsea’s League Cup triumph earlier that year.

As a result of tensions and indifferences between him and the Chelsea board, the Portuguese left Stamford Bridge by mutual consent on September 20, 2007.

Roughly nine months after departing Chelsea, he signed for Italian giants, Inter Milan.

In the 2009/10 season, Mourinho went on to win a historic treble with the Nerazzurri. The most notable feat of that season was when they knocked out a formidable Barcelona side in the semi-finals of the Champions League. 

Both semi-final ties were matches for the ages!

Real Madrid President, Fiorentino Perez was paying very close attention to the special one’s accomplishments in Italy. On May 28, 2010, Mourinho was brought in the put together a formidable Los Blancos team that would challenge their fierce rivals Barcelona.

Barcelona with Lionel Messi was one of the greatest football teams ever to exist and Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid in their rights did very well against them. In the 2011/12 season, Los Blancos won the league with an astonishing 100 points (a record that is yet to be broken to this day). 

They also defeated the Catalans in 3 cup finals namely the 2011 Copa del Rey Final, 2012 Spanish Super Cup, and the 2013 Supercopa de España.

The Portuguese eventually left the Santiago Bernabeu on June 1, 2013, after falling out with players like Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. There were also other contributory factors that led to his departure.

On June 3, 2013, Mourinho had a reunion with Roman Abramovich and the Chelsea fans as he came back as manager. In the 2014/15 season, the Blues, under his supervision won the Premier League title and the League Cup. 

Déjà vu struck again as he had a falling out with Chelsea’s management again in the 2015/16 season and was eventually sacked on December 17, 2015.

His next move shocked many, if not all football enthusiasts as he joined Manchester United on May 27, 2016. Many Chelsea fans felt betrayed by this action.

In his first season in charge at the Theatre of Dreams, the Portuguese won a treble consisting of the Community Shield, the League Cup, and the Europa League. His second season in charge was also commendable as the Red Devils finished in 2nd place and reached the FA Cup final although they lost to his former side Chelsea.

At this point, most Manchester United fans were confident they had found the right heir to Sir Alex Ferguson in Jose Mourinho after years of trial and error. 

Sadly, this was not the happily ever after they envisaged.

After a string of poor performances in his third season in charge and famously falling out with the club’s record-signing Paul Pogba, Jose Mourinho was sacked on December 18, 2018.

All in all, it was a rather strange decision for the Portuguese to join Manchester United. However, his next course of action was even stranger.

On November 20, 2019, Jose Mourinho was appointed manager of Tottenham Hotspur. Many people believe that his downfall began after joining Spurs. Mourinho’s time at White Hart Lane was a rollercoaster ride characterized by both promising highs and frustrating lows. His defensive tactics drew strong criticism from fans and pundits alike as it was a sharp contrast to his predecessor, Mauricio Pochettino’s tactics.

After a rather uneventful 17 months as the manager of Tottenham Hotspur with a 51% win percentage in all competitions, he was relieved of his duties on April 19, 2021.

Less than a month after Mourinho was axed from Tottenham Hotspur, he was appointed manager of Roma. We all know how this story went.

Because of his rather underwhelming performance at both Tottenham Hotspur and Roma, many believe the Portuguese is past the twilight of his managerial career. However, it is important to note that he has led both clubs to various cup finals.

Mourinho led Spurs to the League Cup final in 2021 but for very strange reasons was sacked six days before the final. He led the Giallorossi to the Conference League final in 2022 which they won and the Europa League final in 2023 which they lost to Sevilla.

For the 60-year-old to still be able to take clubs to various major finals is an indication that he still has much to offer at the very top level of management.

The Portuguese is certainly spoilt for choice as regards his next destination should he choose not to take a break after his departure from the Stadio Olimpico. 

The former Chelsea and Inter Milan coach had previously stated that he expects to move to Saudi Arabia sometime in his career. This might occur sooner rather than later given his current status. There are also reports linking him to become the next manager of the Brazilian national team. Plus, many Chelsea fans want him to come again for the 3rd time as they are confident he has the solutions to the many problems currently plaguing the club under Todd Boehly.

All things considered, Jose Mourinho’s run of form at the next club he chooses will determine whether or not he’s still an elite manager. Also, this might be what determines the legacy as a football coach with over 20 years of experience.


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