Chelsea FC’s Jose Mourinho: What Does It Take To Win?

Jose Mourinho. Credits: In Mou We Trust. (Flickr Creative Commons)
Jose Mourinho. Credits: In Mou We Trust. (Flickr Creative Commons) /

“You could make noise with my silence, because you know the reason of my silence”. That was José Mourinho appearing in front of the cameras after a week of silence following the FA’s decision to ban Diego Costa after his alleged stamp on Emre Can. “Costa crimes” he denounced, outraged as he talked about his protégé like it was his son who got bullied in school.

RELATED: Steven Gerrard Regrets Not Playing For Jose Mourinho

That is a characteristic feature of The Special One’s approach at coaching a team: he gets close to the players, treats them as he would treat his children. Zanetti, Lampard, Terry, Ozil, and so many others have been under his tutelage and were seen with him in an almost father-to-son-like relationship. Such a relationship is built on trust, but trust is something you have to earn.

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If you want him to like you and trust you as a player, you don’t just need talent, talent is key but there is more to that. So many talented players have failed to make the cut under the Portugese because their mentality didn’t fit the mold; he wants you to give 100% every time; to think as a team rather than as an individual. Many have fallen under his slate and he doesn’t care whether you’re a new recruit or a legend at the club, if you don’t want to give your life to the team, you will be benched.

In 2013 for instance, having only been at the club for 4 months, Mourinho did not hesitate to bench the recent two times player of the year Juan Mata because of his reluctance to track back. He eventually sold him to archrivals Manchester United and somehow had the entire Chelsea FC fanbase backing him.

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His success is understandable, he is a winner, and when you are a winner, people like you. People see you as a leader because, as a coach, he will lead you to glory if you follow his ways. He is a winner that has repeated his success at every club he’s coached.

He is not just a good manager, he’s a a very shrewd learner: not only fluent in 6 languages (English, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, French and Italian) he also reads philosophy books, the likes of Machiavelli from which he revealed he enjoyed a specific quote : ” I’ve always rejected being understood, to understand is to prostitute oneself to the world”.

Jose Mourinho press conference 21/10/14
Credit: Youtube user CFCmotion /

And that brings us to another of his many faces, the face of a shrewd seducer; we are not talking about the Casanova type of seducer here, but as a seducer of masses: in his first interview as manager of Internazionale, he was already fluent in Italian, he made the players and pundits in awe and that’s his usual strategy at the beginning of a stint at a new club.

Used to the cameras and the spotlight, he knows when to strike and when to keep his venom inside, when to criticize and when to praise, it is often seen by pundits as “mind games”, but Mourinho doesn’t do mind game, he makes you think he does, and ironically, that’s the mind game.

A very recent example was the criticism of youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek and his apparent unwillingness to track back and help defensively against Sydney FC,  the strategy here was to challenge the youngster, the way he reacts to that in the near future will determine whether he deserves a place in the first team.

But his power of speech under the spotlight goes beyond that, he can use it to take the pressure of his players or on the contrary to show his team as a big victim, notably in the now famous “campaign against Chelsea FC”.

Such a personality outside of the pitch is instrinsic in his ways on the pitch : his tactics are based on deception and counter-attack, he will make his team look vulnerable just so you let your guard down, wait for the opportune moment (usually a mistake that you are forced to make), and then strike a vital blow, followed by a vintage run down the touchline, meaning yet another trophy.

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” – we’re quoting the Godfather here because we believe it shows Mourinho’s relations with his rivals and in particular with a certain Pep Guardiola who could arguably be the closest manager to the Portuguese in terms of success. While coach at Real Madrid, Mourinho wasn’t scared to dish out any criticism towards Barcelona and their recent Champion’s league win under Pep, accusing them of cheating and being helped by the UEFA.

“Guardiola has win a Champions [League] that I would be ashamed to win”

The feud continued when Mourinho came back to England, with gibes thrown at Arsene Wenger (notably during the famous “specialist in failure” press conference) and at Pellegrini (who he calls Pellegrino), on the back of a trophyless season, he proved his critics wrong while fueling his feuds even further. Sometimes he speaks to take the pressure away from his players, sometimes he tries to put it all on the other contenders; love him or hate him, he’s a genius at being the comedian under the spotlight.

He now faces the herculean task of retaining the title, and with a Community Shield looming against Arsene Wenger and a possible reunion with Chelsea Legend Petr Cech, he will be sure to tinker with his team to get the best out of it.

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