Why José Mourinho Needs To Improve As A Manager

Posted: December 25, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Jose Mourinho, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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The ‘Special One’ is no longer special. Very good, maybe, but special? No longer.

Whilst winning all of his titles and trophies with Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea again and now, Manchester United, he created a history deserving of his title.

In 17 seasons of club management, Mourinho led his club to win its domestic league eight times, the UEFA Champions League twice and the UEFA Cup/Europa League twice. Between 2003 and 2012, Mourinho did not go a single calendar year without winning at least one trophy.

So he was, without doubt, special. He now needs to prove that he still is, or still can be.

His team sits thirteen points behind Manchester City in the Premier League. He has spent more than £290 million pounds on new players and he is still only in his second season at the club.

He, reportedly, wants another £200 million to improve his squad and, also reportedly, has been told he needs to sell before he can buy. This would make sense because, although United have the money available, they do have a bloated squad which includes some very average players.


The likes of Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young and Matteo Darmian are proving to be liabilities which, in a tight battle for second place, can ill be afforded and, if money can be made by selling them then they need to go asap.

Mourinho’s Chelsea teams were always built around a strong defence so it has been quite surprising to see him playing ageing wingers at full back and having centre halves whereby two of them can best be described as OK.

Winning three trophies in his first season at United was quite an achievement but, in truth, they are not the trophies that the fans particularly crave. Yes, last season was a needs-must and he won what he could but, of the ‘A’ trophies i.e. Premier League, Champion’s League and FA Cup, the club didn’t qualify for one of them and were miles away from winning any of the other two!

He is also about to lose his famous ‘second season’ record. Mourinho has never failed, with any club, to win the domestic title in his second season. If he is to do it this season he has to hope that Manchester City lose FIVE games whilst United win every remaining game. Most ‘experts’ agree that neither of these eventualities are likely.

So what is he doing differently nowadays?


Apparently, not much.He still likes to spend money and still brings in decent players when he does so. His team, despite our criticism of it’s players, still has the joint best defensive record in the Premier League, a record he shares with his neighbour Pep Guardiola, to whom the word ‘defence’ is an afterthought and the deployment of it a necessary evil!

Mourinho has the best defence because he concentrates on not conceding goals. Guardiola has the best defence because he concentrates on scoring goals.

Mourinho has qualified for the knockout stage of the Champion’s League, is second in the Premier League and still retains an interest in the FA Cup meaning that the only blot on the landscape was the tame defeat by Bristol City in the Carabao Cup.

In a ‘normal’ season, Manchester United’s current points tally would be enough to see them at the top and there have been title-winning teams under Sir Alex Ferguson who wouldn’t have been close to this City team.

So Mourinho has to improve. What he once did is no longer good enough. Pep Guardiola has raised the bar and has become the ‘Special One’ usurping José Mourinho in the process by coaching a team which is now not only favourites to win the Premier League, but also favourites to win the Champion’s League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.

Whilst winning all four trophies is unlikely, and is constantly talked down by Guardiola, it is not impossible.

José Mourinho now faces the biggest challenge he has ever faced. Guardiola won’t go away and, if Mourinho wants to stay in England then neither will he.


The easy way out would be to run away to Paris and only have the prospect of facing his nemesis in the Champion’s League but, hopefully, that is not the Mourinho way.

Hopefully he will stay and prove that he can become the ‘Special One’ again by winning the title next season.

Maybe then his humour will return and we will start to see the real Mourinho again because he certainly cuts an unhappy figure when he is not the top dog.

After all, it is he who always likes to see how people react to adversity. As he said during the unbeaten run at the start of the season, he was far more interested in seeing how his players reacted to their first defeat than their continued winning spree.

So let’s see how he reacts. Cometh the hour, cometh the man!

  1. You make a point of Mourinho’s spending in the 2 years as manager of United 290 million but fail to mention Guardiola’s spending of 360 – 400million in the same period, I don’t see your point unless it is the usual United bashing, you also fail to mention Mourinho has won the champions league with 2 clubs Guardiola has only won it with 1 club , he could not win it with Bayern who were current champions when he took over.


    • Editor says:

      Thanks for your comment David. I make a point of Mourinho’s spending because the article is about how HE has to improve, not Guardiola who’s spending, therefore, is meaningless. I also mention, right at the beginning of the article that Mourinho has won the Champion’s League twice. Again, the article is not about Guardiola so how many times he has won it and with whom is irrelevant. I don’t see your point unless it is the usual City bashing!

      I also fail to see how an article about José Mourinho needing to improve as a manager, which he does, is United-bashing!


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