Has Manchester United changed Jose Mourinho? That is the real question, and this article we attempt to shed some light on the matter.
The date is the 9th March 2004 and Mourinho announced himself to the footballing world with a memorable touchline dash at Old Trafford after Francisco Costinha’s injury-time goal knocked United out of that season’s Champions League. Mourinho went on to win the competition that year with his Porto team. Jose had put his name on the map as he quickly became one of the most sought after young managers, and Chelsea were to benefit from his services when he joined them three months later in June.
So began an English media fixation on “The Special One”, with Jose stating in his first press conference upon joining the English side, “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.”
The following season, Chelsea secured their first top-flight domestic title in 50 years, having in the process achieved the most points ever in the Premier League (95) and the fewest goals conceded (15). This proved to be the beginning of a sustained period of success for Jose Mourinho, winning a further two Premier League titles, three League Cups, one FA Cup, and a Community Shield with Chelsea, and numerous other accolades with other clubs.
However, despite all his success, Jose found himself under the media spotlight more often than he would like.
The Eye Poke Incident
During his time at Real Madrid, Jose found himself in hot water after he astonishingly poked the then Barcelona boss Tito Villanova in the eye. Following a wild challenge by Real Madrid defender Marcelo on Barcelona’s then-midfielder Cesc Fabregas, a scuffle ensued between the two rival sides.
Rather than attempt to calm his players in the heat of the moment, Jose saw fit to poke Tito’s eye, an incident which was shown and discussed by the Spanish media during the following weeks.
The Laundry Basket Incident
Jose Mourinho was barred from contact with his Chelsea players during a Champions League quarter-final match against Bayern Munich after a different incident in the previous round against Barcelona. It was believed that Mourinho watched the game and delivered his pre-match and half time talks from the dressing room. Furthermore, he was in constant communication with his fitness coach Rui Faria as many were convinced he was hiding an earpiece under his hat.
Shortly before the game ended, Jose was wheeled away from the dressing room in a laundry basket to the Stamford Bridge Leisure Club.
The Eva Carneiro Scandal
Perhaps the story that is still fresh in everyone’s mind is the Eva Carneiro incident.
After Eden Hazard went down with an injury, he called for the medical staff to come and assist him. With Chelsea already down to 10 men, Hazard receiving treatment meant Chelsea would momentarily be down to 9 men during the next phase of play. Jose was clearly agitated and was seen directing some abuse to Eva during video replays. Later on during Mourinho’s post-match interview, he reveals how angry he was at his staff for not understanding the game.
In reality, the medical team were correct in performing their jobs – and Jose’s treatment was undeserved. The English media and fans certainly made their voices heard about the situation.
A New Start For Jose?
It is no secret that Mourinho has been a long time admirer of Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. Although never stating directly, he had hinted on multiple occasions his admiration for the club.
After his Inter Milan team drew United in the Champions League, Mourinho stated that “My wish has been granted. It will be unforgettable to go back to Manchester.”
During his second stint as Chelsea manager, Jose couldn’t help but mention United during his first interview. “I would have turned down every job in the world – the Manchester United job, every one – for Chelsea.”
Now that Jose finally has the job he always seemingly longed for, it would be in his best interests to stay out of the type of trouble which contributed to his sackings at previous clubs.
And in his short stint as United boss thus far, it would seem that “the special one” is trying to do just that. His United press conferences have taken on a different tone, one that is more relaxed and calm. Unlike last season where seemingly every week Jose would come out with another sensational quote, thus far he is more careful about his choice of words.
Of course it is still early days, but do you think Manchester United has changed Jose Mourinho or is it in his nature to be “the controversial one”? Let me know your thoughts below.