Date Published: 12/01/10
Mourinho still SPECIAL despite 5-0 El Classico massacre by Barca
It was the worst defeat of his career and it came in the worst match possible, his first El Clasico as Real Madrid boss. It came, it has to be said, most unexpectedly. Real Madrid had been in fine form heading into the match and under their new coach, Jose Mourinho, they were looking a much rejuvenated side. It was an absolute thrashing that nobody expected, and that even the most ardent Catalan fans would not have dreamed of.
After such a crushing defeat in a game that was meant to mark the decreasing gap between Spain’s two giants, questions are being raised about Jose Mourinho and his performance in this match, and rightly so.
I never thought I would write this sentence, but in this particular match Jose Mourinho got it all wrong. His tactical decision to play a high defensive line against a side with the pace of players like Lionel Messi, David Villa and Pedro and with players like Andres Iniesta and Xavi who are the best passers in the game was suicidal. His substitutions were just as baffling.
But perhaps what is most difficult to understand is how Mourinho thought that he could go to Camp Nou and have his side impose their style of play, if they truly have one, on a team like the current Barcelona side, easily the best team in the world right now and one of the best teams in history.
Although, given Jose Mourinho’s personality, that is tainted with just a hint of arrogance. Perhaps this is not difficult to understand. Perhaps he thought his Blancos were a little too good their own good.
David Ramos/Getty Images Nonetheless, ultimately this is just one bad result, albeit very bad, for Mourinho in a career where failures like these are few and far between. Therefore, given his record, it is most inappropriate for criticisms of Jose Mourinho to extend beyond this one terrible result. To do so would not just be premature but wholly unnecessary.
Admittedly, such a defeat in a match of such importance has done damage to the reputation of the self-proclaimed "Special One." Nonetheless, Mourinho’s achievements to date in his career are unparalleled by any manager in the world today, including Josep Guardiola. Simply put, Jose Mourinho is one of football’s greatest and most successful managers.
Let us remember some of the achievements of Mourinho’s short managerial career. Back in 2004 he steered an unfancied Porto side to Champions League glory. For a competition that is dominated annually by the continent's biggest club sides, this is an achievement that will not be replicated for some time.
In addition to winning the Champions League with the Portuguese side, Mourinho also helped Porto claim two Liga titles, a Portuguese Cup, the Portuguese Super Cup and the 2003 UEFA Cup. All this was achieved within two seasons at the club.
Poached by Chelsea following his exploits with Porto, the Portuguese tactician claimed himself to be the "Special One" on his arrival in England. During his tenure at Chelsea, he justified this outrageous claim as he helped turn Chelsea from a side of nearly men to one of the dominant forces of the English game.
Then it was onto Inter in Italy. Mourinho would only spend two years in Milan but in that time he won the Coppa Italia, the Italian Super Cup and two Serie A titles. But his crowning moment came just last May when he guided Inter to an unprecedented treble as they claimed the 2010 Champions League trophy along with their Coppa Italia and Serie A successes.
It has been a career of incredible success. Remarkably, all this success has only come in the last seven seasons.
Furthermore, to have coached three different clubs in three different countries and achieve the success aforementioned in such a short period of time is extraordinary. Mourinho’s record is without equal amongst today’s managers and there is a strong case for him to be regarded as one of the best of all time, if not the best.
One bad result changes none of this, especially against the current Barcelona side who, as previously mentioned, are one of the greatest teams in history and played one of their greatest matches.
Nonetheless, it is a major blip on his flawless reputation which will lead many, especially those that dislike his brash and rather arrogant attitude, to pile on the criticism that Mourinho is not so special any more, or even more incorrectly, never was. But unless the criticism is only aimed at this one very sub-par performance, then it is criticism that has no merit.
In football it is results and trophies that matter, and Jose Mourinho is still the best in this business today. For this reason, he still remains a very special kind of coach.
Courtesy Bleacher Report