José Mourinho is undoubtedly one of the best managers of all time. He is the man with the Midas touch and has brought success wherever he has gone. He has managed some of the biggest clubs and players in the world and won league titles in four different countries.
He has an arrogance that his fans love and drives his competitors mad. His interviews and press conferences are sometimes amusing, sometimes controversial but always entertaining. He is a thorough, strategic planner and provides his players with detailed documents and analysis about their opposition.
He uses psychology to motivate his players, making them feel on top of the world. He also uses it to plant fear into the minds of rival managers and players.
Mourinho’s father had been a professional footballer, but Mourinho had not been strong or fast enough to make the grade. Instead he focused on becoming a coach.
When a rival questioned his ability as a manager because of his lack of professional experience as a player, Mourinho responded: “I don’t see the connection. They are different skill sets. I have the best dentist in the world but he has never had toothache.”
Finding his way into football
After getting a sports science degree, Mourinho looked for work in professional sports. He was given assistant manager and scouting roles at Estrela da Amadora and Ovarense.
In 1992 he was given his first taste of life at a big club. He became a translator and coach for Bobby Robson while the Englishman was at Sporting Clube de Portugal. The two would speak for hours about football, tactics and coaching methods and Robson was impressed with Mourinho’s knowledge and enthusiasm.
When Robson left Sporting for FC Porto, he asked Mourinho to come with him. Mourinho was happy to do so as he was learning so much from his mentor. Two years later they moved again, this time to Barcelona. By now Mourinho was being trusted with several important responsibilities including working with players on analysis of their opposition and giving them tactical advice.
Early managerial jobs
When Robson left, Mourinho stayed and became assistant manager to Louis van Gaal. Van Gaal was impressed with Mourinho and let him take charge of the Barcelona B team and the first team for the lesser trophies. Mourinho repaid van Gaal’s faith in him by winning the Copa Catalunya in 2000.
Later that year he got his first chance to move up from an assistant role when Benfica appointed him as their manager. He was doing a fine job but unfortunately the club voted in a new president, Manuel Vilarinho. Vilarinho wanted a new coach and Mourinho couldn’t get any assurances from the president so he resigned after just nine games.
He got another chance four months later, this time with União de Leiria. He took over towards the end of the season but guided them to their highest ever league finish. The following year they finished seventh and Mourinho started to catch the eye of the bigger Portuguese clubs.
Becoming a household name with FC Porto – Read more