Whether you call him Special, Happy or Humble, Mourinho, my friends, will always be Mourinho. Because when you hear the name it is not your reaction to it that matters. It is the reality to it. So no more boring evenings, ladies and gentleman, because Mourinho (with all its flaws and strengths) it is back! You see, for me, growing up as FC Porto supporter, it was – and still is – rather confusing to ear and watch so many different interpretations of the man. Because, again, for me it was his calmly displayed confidence that struck me the most. You will of course remember him running like a crazy person in Old Trafford (when Costinha tied the match – 89′ – 2004), but that is not the image that has a special moment in my mind. For that we have to go back to the first leg against the red devils at what I call my home: O Estadio do Dragao. Man Utd stroke first, but the telly continued to show a calm man with the victory on his face. Like an imperator who knows the triumph is about to come – whether the world likes it or not, whether the strong opponent likes it ot not – Mourinho was there, not gesticulating, not angry with football or with his players. He was just there like a normal person who waits for the bus – because you know that the bus is coming, and you are not running out of time. You are just there, calmly confident that your victory bus surely will come.
So even though I didn’t know who was going to score (Benny McCarthy did it, twice) I instantly knew that the victory was coming, that the victory was ours to celebrate. Because Mourinho’s times at Porto showed us to be patient, to know that whether you are behind on the score, or you are playing with one man down, the team would know what to do. It was the Mourinho spark that contaminated the dressing room first, and then the stands of Antas (Porto’s old stadium) and Dragao. And he did it playing beautifully, which was not a suprise for us back at those times. Coming from Barcelona, where he grew learning from the catalan football culture with Sir Bobby Robson (I can not tell you how much we miss this man at Porto!) and Louis Van Gall, it was not a surprise the offensive machine that he created at Porto. High defensive line (with Carvalho’s speed controlling the space behind), wide and profound full-backs, intelligent midfielders (Costinha and Maniche) that covered the Magician (Deco) but who offered goals as well (headers and long distance ones) and the trick that he used against powerfull oponnents (one more midfielder and two strikers) or against weaker opposition (two wingers and one striker). And this always with ball possession in his mind. Because he knew the players that he had, because he knew that you will not be winning the Portuguese league parking the bus.
That is why realism should be his motto. Because he did not do it that way at Stamford Bridge. Knowing that the English clubs would not renounce going forward, looking for goals, fearing no one, his mind become fixated on not conceding first – and then to score making use of the space that the opponents left. So why would he go against a sure thing? Why would he go for a subjective approach just for the sake of aesthetics? Like he always does, he did go for the most realistic one. And fast-forwarding to his time on Man United, that is what happened. He instantly knew that he could not go forward and mantain possession. Why? Simply because he did not have the players to do it. Think again the numbers of balls that Rashford and Martial lose (the vast majority being unforced errors). Think again if you can see Pogba holding the ball between lines (the narrowest place on the field) like Xavi, Iniesta or Messi did/do. And when that massive number of errors happened, what do you expect Mourinho to do? To trust Phil Jones to stop them?
You see, at Stamford Bridge, with 112£, Mourinho bought Ricardo Carvalho (30£), Paulo Ferreira (20£), Essien (26£), Robben (12€) and Drogba (24€) adding massive quality to a already good side hungry for titles. But this days what you are going to do with little more than 100£? Well, you can buy Pogba just to see him renouncing to the most basic football values. We can not compare what is incomparable. Obviously, Mourinho has it’s flaws as well. He will not stand to be the second brightest person at a room. Has he will not stand that someone does to him what he did to Wenger in 2004. Bringing a more realistic approach, transcending the old views, Mourinho did exactly to Arsene Wenger what Guardiola did to him years after. He found the antidote, and even though the fight was close (Mou was the only one to stand up against that magic, magic, Barcelona team) he felt like a runner-up on his mind – and that he can not stand! makes him a bitter, angry person who was capable of doing some nasty stuff (like he did to Tito Vilanova).
But those times are gone. Mourinho accepted the he is not the young kid on the block anymore. He accepted that football evolved and that Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are a step ahead. Proof of that is his calmly delivered words on his first appearance as the spurs manager. And more than that, the way that he displayed Tottenham’s players offensively (3-4-3!) shows that not only he evolved, but he maintains a thing that almost everybody forgot that he is always had: realism. He will play with what the squad offers. He will not park the bus every time, as he will not go for it like a maniac. So, under Mourinho, do not expect a boring Tottenham because (once the idea is consolidated) he will surprise you! Actually he has now the squad that he dreamt of having when he arrived to… Old Trafford! So he is just there, (while he puts silent pressure on Klopp and Pep victorious times) calmly waiting for the White Hart Lane’s victory bus to come.