The Special One has officially come into town this week with the usual grand hullabaloo, full of swagger, confidence and some not-so-subtle jabs at his coaching competition. Jose Mourinho returns to the Premier League in the position that he has always craved – Manchester United manager.
But will he find success with the Red Devils in his first season? Looking into his track record and managerial style, it may not come to fruition right away.
Despite his controversial statements and demeanor on the sidelines, Jose Mourinho has a proven track record of cultivating and leading a winning squad. He has won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. He has won the UEFA Champions League and various domestic cup competitions throughout Europe as well.
The Setubal native has done so with his results based approach to the game, which quite often leaves viewers and supporters frustrated. More times than not, the bus will be parked during his team’s matches and Jose finds a way to get the results he and the squad need.
Ultimately, Manchester United want Premier League and Champions League titles to return to Old Trafford and believe Mourinho is the man to guide them to the promised land. And he just might be. But his first season will present unique challenges that he has normally needed some time to iron out.
As manager of Porto from 2002-04, Mourinho achieved arguably his greatest achievement in winning the Champions League in 2004. While the squad included excellent players like Ricardo Carvalho and Deco, it was an incredible run from an unlikely team. But Mourinho needed time to craft this group of champions, reaching this final in his second full season with the Portuguese squad.
When he moved to Chelsea the following season, his work with owner Roman Abramovich to bring in talent like Didier Drogba paid immediate dividends, winning the Premier League in his first season and delivering The Blues their first league championship in fifty years. While this success is noteworthy, as time has gone on it has proven to be a bit of an outlier.
After a power struggle and eventual falling out with Abramovich, Mourinho left to take over Inter Milan in Serie A.
In his second season leading the club in 2009-10, Inter Milan became the first Italian team to win the treble, capturing the Champions League, Coppa Italia and Serie A titles. The very next season Jose moved to Real Madrid, capturing a La Liga title in his second season at the helm.
Upon his return to the Premier League again with Chelsea in 2013, the team won the Premier League in his second season in charge.
What we learn from Jose’s incredibly successful managerial career in Europe is that he needs time to fully shape his team to how he see fit. His abrasive approach and confident attitude can cause ripples in both the front office and the locker room, especially when he normally brings in new players that he wants for his system. This has begun already with Manchester United, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have been brought on with more soon to follow.
Mourinho also has a history of needing to change the current squad he takes over, and one has to think Juan Mata was not exactly thrilled at the announcement of Jose’s hiring. How players like Wayne Rooney will fit into his immediate plans are anyone’s guess at this point as well. Pep Guardiola’s arrival at Manchester City, Antonio Conte taking over Chelsea, Leicester City’s title defense and competition from both North London teams will all make this upcoming season a challenge as a return to Champions League football becomes perhaps the most important (and most attainable) goal.
Manchester United want the success that had become synonymous with the club during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge. David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal were unable to achieve those high standards.
Jose Mourinho may bring the success that they are after, but it may take a little time to get there. Maybe next year.
By Roy Emanuel, TFN Columnist on 07/07/2016 at 10:36
Follow Roy on Twitter @roy13a