The Special One, the Happy One, the Moody One; whatever adjective you choose to associate Jose Mourinho with, you can’t deny his approach has brought success; Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea 2.0 and now Manchester United – titles, fall outs, quotes and drama all in abundance.
However, as Mourinho’s career continues, the Portuguese boss often plays the victim; often acts like the world is against him, and creates this confrontational relationship with his own supporters. The recent gesture of a ‘shush’ to the Old Trafford fans, followed with programme notes that dug out a certain section of the Red Devils crowd is an all too familiar sign of Mourinho against everyone just three months into the season:
— Sporting Index (@sportingindex) October 31, 2017
Is it age? Is it Mourinho’s constant battle with the media and this brand of anti-football that creates such a divisive figure in the dugout? Whatever it is, the younger Mourinho would do anything to protect his players and used to create a scenario of ‘us versus them’, rather than a ‘me versus them’ situation.
If you rewind back to 2009 when Mourinho brought Inter Milan to Old Trafford in a last-16 Champions League tie, the Milan boss had nothing but praise for his players following a 2-0 defeat and Sir Alex Ferguson dumping his side out of Europe:
“Today my players did absolutely everything. We played to our full potential as far as I am concerned. I don’t think anyone should be negative about my team’s display. If they do want to criticize them, they will have to fight with me.” — Jose Mourinho
If a similar result was to follow this weekend with United’s trip to Stamford Bridge, we highly doubt – no matter how hard his players worked for their manager – that the Red Devils boss would be full of such protection for his players.
With Mourinho’s trip back to London, we’ve dug into the archives to see how the Portuguese gaffer’s record compares to playing his former side, Chelsea, to how it does against playing Manchester United; the results certainly pointed to Jose constantly getting one over his old rival, Sir Alex:
Mourinho’s previous return to Stamford Bridge with Inter Milan saw his Italian side knock Chelsea out the Champions League; a prediction the then Milan boss felt confident before he returned back to the blue half of London:
“Mourinho does not lose at Stamford Bridge. We can go there with a legitimate ambition to go through,” — Jose Mourinho after Inter’s first-leg defeat of Chelsea in 2010
He will be hoping for similar success and to avenge the 4-0 battering United received last season in October. Both teams current form slightly favour the Red Devils boss on his return to the Bridge; but, whatever the result, if Mourinho continues to pick fights in the terraces with the wrong set of supporters, his future is only heading one-way; just like it did with every other club.
Choose your battles wisely, Jose.