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Has Jose Mourinho finally worn out his welcome in England?


For years, Jose Mourinho has mesmerized the British press with both clever catchphrases and insensitive remarks. As the master of mind games, the Chelsea manager has used the media as an ally to get under the skin of opposing managers and players. Even while media in other countries appeared dubious about Mourinho, his public love affair with all things English seemed to inoculate him from the type of critique from the British press that he was receiving in Italy, Spain and his native Portugal.

In terms of managerial accomplishments, few can match Mourinho’s haul of three league titles in five full seasons as Chelsea manager spanning over two very different eras in the Premier League. Only Sir Alex Ferguson can claim Premier League titles separated by as many years as Mourinho’s. The Portuguese manager’s mastery of English football has extended to understanding how to manipulate and play the media to gain any advantage necessary. In many cases, it has been simple deflection, taking pressure off his players and redirecting it elsewhere.

Coming off yet another league title, Mourinho has been in rare form these last few weeks, whether his target has been old adversaries Rafael Benitez and Arsene Wenger, or the physio staff at his own club. But unlike Mourinho’s outrageous statements and actions of years past, suddenly the British press in many quarters is demonstrating an ire toward the man and his continued theatrics.

SEE MORE: Read our Chelsea 2015/16 season preview.

Two weeks ago, I commented to World Soccer Talk Podcast Host Richard Farley that the mature reaction of many British writers toward Mourinho’s absolutely over-the-top comments about Benitez gave me hope things were changing. That was followed by the Chelsea manager getting the brunt of the criticism for the non-handshake with Arsene Wenger following the Community Shield. In that instance, Wenger probably deserved equal responsibility for the slight, but Mourinho bore the brunt of the criticism.

Then came Mourinho’s outrageous and embarrassing comments about Chelsea’s team doctor Eva Carneiro, which could be interpreted as a way to divert attention from a 2-2 draw against Swansea at the Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Mourinho showed in his comments that he is willing to publicly humiliate a staff person for simply doing her job. The code of ethics of physios require attention to player health and welfare. It is not the job of Carneiro or someone in her role to judge a potential injury from the touchline. Eden Hazard’s apparent knock required medical attention. Perhaps Mourinho had a private word with the Belgian superstar but was unwilling to question his player’s ethic of going down easy but rather accosted a staff person with his public comments instead.

The reaction has been overwhelmingly negative toward Mourinho’s position. The British press, sensing a story, has piled on with moral indignation. One can argue that it has been all too much attention for an internal staff matter and Mourinho comments that were simply meant as a diversion. But the response from the British media and many throughout the game has probably damaged Mourinho to a point where Roman Abramovich is probably now thinking at what point does he have to speak with his coach to reign him in.

Mourinho’s antics work as long as Chelsea is winning. Last season right after the manager claimed that there was a “clear campaign” being run against Chelsea, his team got crushed 5-3 on New Year’s Day by Spurs. Not coincidently, Mourinho then shut his mouth for the most part and the Blues pulled away from Manchester City to win the title with ease. The previous season, when Mourinho began engaging media and fans making outlandish comments, his team had the title well within its grasp but fell to third.

This year, Mourinho has started early. It’s the first time he has not won his season opener as Chelsea manager. Historically, his teams have not reacted well to his outbursts and with likely title-rivals Manchester City the next opponent this Sunday, the timing couldn’t be worse. With the British press now seemingly fed up with the antics of the Chelsea manager, plus considering track record of his longevity in jobs, must wonder if this is the beginning of the end. Only time will tell.

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  1. CTBlues

    August 13, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    The last two times a Jose team started the season with a draw they wont the treble.

  2. Ken

    August 12, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    There isn’t any question that if this had been a man no one would give 2 hoots about what Jose said to one of his staff members. The fact it is an issue says far more about the writers than it does Jose.

    I don’t recall too many fighting her corner when Oscar was concussed. In fact one of the docs at FMA said she needed retraining and risked the players health.

    It’s Chelsea so overreaction is expected and boy has this clown over reacted.

    (At least have the decency to point out it was Benitez wife that started the whole story not Jose. Then again truth seems to be lacking here also)

    • Martin J.

      August 13, 2015 at 4:44 am

      Yes, part of the outrage is that Mourinho is targeting a woman . Unfortunately he is using the wrong situation to marginalize her when she was clearly doing her job. She didn’t enter the field until the referee beckoned her. What was she supposed to do? Ask Mourinho’s permission before going onto the field? If it had be truly a bad injury and she failed to go onto the field quickly she would have been rightly castigated for it.

      • erico

        August 13, 2015 at 1:58 pm

        Although the press is focusing on the woman, Mourinho also trashed his physio, a man, so there is speculation that something behind the scenes is simmering. Also, once the ref signals for the health team to enter the field, its not really the manager’s decision whether or not they do. Or so say the voices who claim to know these things lol.

        I think the sports press in GB is a dangerous monster, it will suckle a few colorful characters to its mutant breast until the moment it decides not to, then comes the cruel vivisection. Mourinho is so arrogant I suspect he thinks he will always be better at this sort of dance, but nothing is more reckless than believing your own bullsh&t. I hope he goes down and I hope its brutal and bloody.

  3. Michael

    August 12, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    The British media thrives on people like Mourinho. Yes, they will criticize him occasionally but they need people like Mourinho for a good story. And Mourinho knows how to use the media to his benefit.

    It’s a different case with the average soccer fan. With them there is a feeling that his antics are now getting old.

  4. erico

    August 12, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    From your lips to God’s ear, or whatever the metaphor should be these days with tweets etc. lol.

    Probably wishful thinking though, as far as any Mourinho exile in the near-ish future. I can’t stand the guy but he seems to get the job done, so far anyway. Since I hope just about anybody else tops the table this season, I eagerly await the stumbles and inquisitions that (hopefully) are to come.

    • erico

      August 12, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      whoops, idiom not metaphor lol, brain is muddled after re-watching the thrilling Barca vs Sevilla match from yesterday and avoiding work, feeling happy and depleted;)

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