Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho Is A Shadow Of Himself

For the past ten years, Jose Mourinho has been the titan on the world stage of soccer management. Records have been casually swatted aside with contemptuous ease. The force of his personality was simply too powerful to be contained but now that force appears to be slowly ebbing away.

Before we look at this slow steady decline though, we must remember the decade of excellence.

At FC Porto, Mourinho channeled a Brian Clough like aura turning mid level players into world-beaters with the UEFA Cup and Champions League trophies proof of his excellence at the Estadio Drago.

With Chelsea and a budget that would be the envy of small countries, the now self proclaimed ‘Special One’ showed the Premiership that the Manchester United beast could be tamed. Mourinho was all in his pomp patrolling the technical area, out-psyching opponents before a ball was even kicked.

In Italy, Mourinho, already a master of manipulating the press found new levels of control taking the foundation built by Roberto Mancini and supplying the pixie dust to catapult the club to the famed treble. Near immortality followed as he joined Ernst Happel and now Jupp Heynckes as the only men to win the UEFA Champions League with different clubs.

It was with Real Madrid that the cracks began to appear though. Unable to tame the press or a city desperate for a tenth European Cup, Mourinho found himself up against Pep Guardiola and a Barcelona club rewriting the laws of soccer. Failure was grounds for divorce and for the first time in his managerial career he couldn’t succeed on his terms.

With a manager like Mourinho, everything is staged managed. He calls the shots and dictates the terms. However the Madrid experience has damaged him and clouded his judgment.

He concluded that a swift return to management was the best option and Chelsea provided the safest destination given the budget supplied by Blues owner, Roman Abramovich.

One could argue that, to date, he’s been a success on his return to Stamford Bridge. Third in the Premier League, quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup, and the knockout stage of the Champions League. But let’s be honest, something is missing.

The Mourinho I see in press conferences, on the sidelines, and in post match interviews is tired. The spark that made him loved and hated with equal measure has gone. He seems like a shell of the man that could win matches just by staring at his team.

Chelsea, despite some of the most gifted footballers in the world, is a team missing personality and the drive of a manager. With his hands stuffed in pockets, head bowed, one wonders where the real Jose is?

I can’t help but think of his rival, the man he could not best in Spain, Pep Guardiola. The Spaniard no doubt was under the same immense pressures as his Portuguese counter-part but instead of stepping back into the cauldron after resigning from Barcelona, he decided to step away completely from soccer.

Viewing him now conducting the Bayern Munich machine is to see a man reborn. The haunted face has been replaced with a freshness and desire that provides a stark contrast to the man in the grey overcoat grinding in West London.

Perhaps at the end of the day, Chelsea is the club for Mourinho to reclaim his mojo but ultimately I think that he couldn’t bear to be out of the spotlight for more than a second and that this was the safest move for his ego.

Mourinho has claimed that he only wanted to be loved but I think that he is damaged, and like Cloughie, who I mentioned at the top of this piece, just couldn’t work out that it was time to step away until it was too late.

Mourinho is managing without joy, Chelsea is a club looking for its soul.

Nick Webster covered the Barclays Premier League for Fox Soccer for 12 years, becoming the voice of the Prem. He now has his own blog, which allows him to look at the world of football with an uncensored eye.

14 thoughts on “Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho Is A Shadow Of Himself”

  1. For a writer who doesn’t know the difference between the words “bare” and bear”, the article is a decent attempt at trying to say something worthwhile. But it ultimately fails because the basic premise of the whole thing is a lot of junk.

  2. He is missing his nemesis Sir Alex, and has yet to make a managerial rivalry with anyone in the prem as of yet. You could argue who are the big manager personalities in the BPL now. ‘Arry, Rafa, Dalglish, Mancini and SAF are all gone so he has no-one to play TV mind games with. Now we have the likes of Pelligrini, Moyes, and Rodgers. However, when Arsenal start crumbling and Wenger turns into a grumpy old man again, Jose will cease the opportunity and have a go at him. Chelsea are doing just fine though, with Ramires, Terry and Ivanovich appearing to be the leaders on the team. Most Chelsea fans would probably prefer them where they are now with a dull Mourinho.

  3. Jose is simply older and wiser this time around. No he didn’t win the CL with Real but he did beat Barca to the title in his first season! He is building a team this season in transition and no way will Chelsea finish a country mile off of the eventual title winners. My guess is that we will finish a close second to City this term. Summer 2014 should be very very interesting for Chelsea fans as Jose puts the finishing touches to HIS eventual squad. Next season will see the true Jose and his team winning trophy’s again and will be well worth the wait IMHO.

  4. First Nick Geber, now Nick Webster. World Soccer Talk is becoming the retirement home for ex Fox Football-in presenters.

    1. No worries, we’re in good company with Nick Webster and Nick Geber. Both of them know the Premier League like the back of their hand.

  5. the article had to be poor so that u guys can comment. Well done to the writer. So far, i am okay with chelsea and mourinho: for arsenal to be toping the table shows it has not been easy for everyone

  6. Mourinho hasn’t really changed. It’s just that in his second coming he is no longer as engaging and he has become tiring. The fist time around it was novel. Not anymore.

  7. As much as I hate to state the obvious here but maybe, JUST MAYBE it could be burnout? Nah, that would make too much sense.

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