It has become increasingly obvious to those who have followed Jose Mourinho’s admittedly success-laden but helter skelter journey from one iconic soccer institution to the next that the Portuguese coach is becoming discontented with his lot at Manchester United.
His grumpy demeanour after a troubled pre-season in the US can hardly have endeared him to the fabled club’s American owners and his carping manner has failed to instill him as a favourite among the faithful at Old Trafford.
Surely, somewhere, this must raise the question whether the glowering manager – the game’s first to exceed £1 billion in transfer payments – was ever going to fit in at United. This is starting to look exceedingly dubious as the pieces of the enigmatic puzzle that make up the complex Mourinho character start falling inexorably into place.
It was a not entirely dissimilar season of discontent which led to a parting of the ways for Chelsea’s Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Mourinho and his tenures with Italian giants Internazionale and Real Madrid before his return to the Blues for a second spell at Stamford Bridge.
But after losing nine of 16 Premier League matches, Chelsea announced on December 15, 2015 that they had parted company “by mutual consent”.
Despite a stellar record – the Uefa Champions League and Uefa Cup with Porto, three English Premier League titles and one FA Cup with Chelsea, the Champions League and two scudettos with Inter, and La Liga, Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España wins in Spain with Real – Mourinho has been blamed for negative tactics.
As Jonathan Wilso commented in the Guardian: “In the modern world, at least at elite level, Jose Mourinho stands alone. He was the greatest coaching seminar the world has seen [at Barcelona in the mid-90s], when the game as we know it was shaped, but he did not draw the same lessons everybody else did.
“The other eight [future coaches who were also at the club] espoused the proactive, possession-based football seeded at the club by Vic Buckingham, developed by Rinus Michels and taken to new levels by Johan Cruyff.
“Mourinho, however, was different. Mourinho believed in reactive football. He was the outsider, the outcast who now revels in his role as the dark lord.”