Man-Management Is Not José Mourinho’s Strong Point

Posted: January 1, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Jose Mourinho, Liverpool, Managers, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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What is the real reason why José Mourinho has never spent more than three seasons at any particular club?

Is it because of the wanderlust? Does he get itchy feet THAT easily? Does he just like moving around Europe? Or does he reach his sell-by date at clubs reasonably quickly?

Today’s top football managers, with one or two exceptions, tend not to stay at one club very long. This, at present and for the last few years, has suited José Mourinho.

His style of management since leaving Porto has been to look for quick fixes which have usually involved spending lots of money. He is not usually very successful in his first season but he has, until now, always won the title in his second season.

Fans of Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid all have fond memories of his stays in their cities but they also have a slightly bitter taste brought on by the manner in which he left.

At Real Madrid he had issues with the players. During his second spell at Chelsea he had issues with the players. At Inter his issues were mainly with other coaches including, Carlo Ancelotti, Claudio Ranieri, Luciano Spalletti and even the Italian national coach, Marcelo Lippi.

His spats with other managers aside, it is his treatment of some of his players which has raised eyebrows in the past.


On arriving at Manchester United one of his first acts was to banish Bastian Schweinsteiger to training with the reserves using the excuse that he wasn’t a member of the first team squad. That may have been true but it was also a disrespectful way to treat a very good professional, a fact he eventually recognised and apologised for, just before the German left for the MLS.

He also didn’t appear to have a lot of time for Luke Shaw and many people put this down to his failure to sign the player when at Chelsea.

These were, however, the only questionable actions in a first season which, like many others, saw him bonding quite well with his players and also saw him win two trophies with the club, (three if you count the Community Shield).

So to his second season and, as is also usually the case, relationships with his players, the press and anybody else within earshot started to go awry as soon as United ceased to be seriously involved in the title race and Manchester City extended their lead at the top almost weekly.

After a promising start to the season United tailed off and started to lose games they should have drawn and draw games they should have won. They were also knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Bristol City of the Championship.

This was the time when Mourinho’s Dr. Jekyll became Mr. Hyde and he actively sought out someone or something to blame other than himself.

He called his players childish in their decision-making when leading at Leicester. He was right, but it was HIS fault. He blamed refereeing decisions and even tried to put positive spins on very poor performances by stating how well his team had played.

Privately, he may very well be admonishing himself for the position United now find themselves in. It is nowhere near disastrous just yet – they are still third and through to the knockout stage of the Champion’s League so, potentially, this season could still end batter than last, although it is unlikely to happen.

The problem is that Mourinho is a better manager when his team is winning than he is when it is losing. He can sometimes lose the plot when unable to work out why he isn’t getting results!

Now his treatment of players is in question again.


Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp both have obviously good relationships with their players. It is evident whenever a substitution is made and whenever a tight game is won. Thier celebrations at the end are always as a team. They also lose as a team which is not so evident with United.

The reason, in our opinion, why José Mourinho tends to leave clubs after two or three seasons is not only because he has achieved his quick fix, but also because his short-term relationships have run their course.

He gets bored with the same faces and fed up with the routine. He wants a fresh challenge with a new club because this will bring new faces for a while. Once he gets to know them and has won a trophy or two, he will be off again.

He may, with age, decide to settle down at a club and it may be that the club in question is Manchester United. If it is then his attitude to his players will change, as will his attitude to life in general.

He will become more mellow and more philosopical. When this happens he can look forward to becoming a great manager because his “people skills” will automatically improve under these circumstances.

Alternatively, these changes may occur at another club but, one thing is for sure, they will happen.



  1. Grog Eisenbein says:

    Good piece, although I fail to see how Mourinho’s people skills will «automatically» improve once (if) he tires of his nomadic habits. Something about an old dog and new tricks spring to mind. Maybe he would be more suited to manage an international side, where quick fixes can bring more sustainable and lasting success.

    As for his current tenure, I think we are seeing clear signs of it coming to an end. As a City fan I must admit I hope it drags on for a few more seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Editor says:

      Thanks Grog.
      I agree with the “old dog, new tricks” argument but feel that people in general, not just Mourinho, mellow with age and become more amenable and patient.
      If he stays longer at a club he will get to know the players better and, maybe, understand them better. Better understanding should mean he is better able to manage those players.
      The problem is that, with José, the normal rules don’t always apply and that is what could be his downfall.


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