Jose Mourinho is a man of incredible prowess; the Portuguese mastermind will be remembered in the game of football for his managerial achievements, for the next century to come. Although his outspoken nature and eccentric behaviour may occasionally rub up opposing managers and fans, there can be no denying the success that Mourinho has achieved during his managerial career. After winning domestic and league honours at over 5 different clubs in four different countries, Mourinho is evidently a manager who is prone to adapt, in order of establishing a winning formula at his given club.
The term ‘mourinhoise’ is perhaps my favourite term in the footballing dictionary at present, as it refers to the movement that a football club undertakes, once Mourinho takes charge. This process is something that Manchester United are well under away in and fans must adapt and become accustom to Mourinho’s ways, as it will deliver the club success. After the 1-0 victory against Southampton on Saturday, fans did appear rather disappointed in the team’s attacking intent, particularly during the second half. However, that hard grinding 1-0 victory is the sort of game that League champions will look back on at the end of the campaign and recognise as one of the most important. The performance and setup from Mourinho was by no means the most pleasant on the eye, but it was his side that walked away with the three points.
Under Sir Alex Ferguson, the club received an iconic reputation of being a ruthless attacking side, where the opposition would all but dread coming to Old Trafford and facing the 4-4-2 lineup, the archetypal used system under Sir Alex. Following Ferguson’s departure, both the club and squad entered a period of serious stagnation and slow decline, with both David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal having failed to take the team forward.
Jose Mourinho has however since inherited a depleted and unconfident looking squad and has managed to secure three domestic trophies and now looks set to mount a title challenge in the Premier League this season. Having already won the English title three times as a Chelsea manager, Mourinho is certainly an experienced man in the field and the current United side certainly has a ‘Mourinho-esque’ feel about it. It is certainly no surprise to see that United’s player of the season so far is in fact a former employee of Mourinho himself, Nemanaja Matic.
Spending £40m on the 29 year-old midfielder is certainly something that on paper, does not typically fit the philosophy or DNA that Manchester United football club have been accustom to over the last decade. The signing does however typify everything that Mourinho demands in a player – trust and solidarity. When analysing Mourinho’s short tenure at United, there is certainly a distinct pattern in the players who succeed and receive the most minutes under him – those who are able to replicate and follow specific instructions and are able to conduct themselves in a professional manner.
The likes of Marouane Fellaini, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young and arguably even Ander Herrera are players who are not blessed with world-class talent or ability, but have flourished under Mourinho due to their pragmatism on the field and ultimately from their attitude in the desire to impress. Other players have of course impressed under Mourinho, but these sorts of players have certainly rectified exactly what the Portuguese mastermind has done at every club he has managed – effectively utilised and managed the tools in front of him.
The signings made by Mourinho and of course also the departures do highlight the project that he is undertaking at Manchester United. Mourinho’s own recruits such as the likes of Matic, Romelu Lukaku and Eric Bailly etc. are all players who are recognised through their strong physicality and ‘warrior type’ mentalities, with the squad now certainly looking in its best shape since Sir Alex’s departure. Although it is not the type of football that United fans have been accustom to during their peak successful period, it is something that needs to be embraced and ultimately accepted, as Jose Mourinho is the best person to take the club towards success.