JOSE MOURINHO: THE ANTAGONIST BECOMES THE ANTAGONISED.

The Manchester United manager has over the years, painted himself as a serial winner and someone who relishes taunting opposition coaches he has triumphed over through his actions and utterances. Due to his tendency to do this from time to time, the self acclaimed ‘special one’ is usually a recipient of intense backlash from the press and legends of clubs he has had the opportunity to manage for words he has uttered or actions he has displayed on the pitch, in his technical area, during interviews or the conference room while performing his media duties before or after a match. Since the inception of his coaching career at Benfica, to handling Uniao de Leiria, Porto,  Chelsea(two different stints), Inter Milan, Real Madrid in subsequent years and currently Manchester United, he has always courted controversy in different manners imaginable.

Having built such an infamous image for himself, Mourinho should expect or have expected as the case may be that getting a taste of his own medicine along the line until he calls it quits would be inevitable. Opposition coaches who Mourinho have clashed with one way or the other would certainly bear grudges against him and are relishing the opportunity to get back at him, the press on the other hand are ready to pounce on and probably misconstrue whatever he does or says occasionally owing to the fact that Mourinho’s reputation would most times be the focal point of any feud pertaining to him irrespective of his true intentions.

In hindsight, some of Jose Mourinho’s actions might have been taken not to anger oppositions but for the betterment of his team but unarguably, a vast majority of what he has done was aimed at drawing the ire of oppositions he has come across. Renowned for his mind games, there are numerous things Mourinho has done that if elaborated on might make this write-up seem unending or inexhaustible but there are notable and memorable ones that has continued to linger on the minds of football faithfuls.

It is safe to say that Mourinho’s coaching career came into limelight when he was acting in the capacity of Porto’s head coach, especially the 2003/04 season when he knocked Manchester United (his current employers) out of the Champions League at the Round of 16 stage which culminated in a UCL triumph that same season. After the match against Manchester United, Mourinho stated in his post-match conference that he understood Ferguson would be disappointed with the result because Ferguson’s team was bested and dominated by an opposition team that had been built on ten percent of Manchester United’s budget. This certainly was a bitter pill the opposition had to swallow coupled with the fact that Mourinho had sprinted down the Old Trafford touchline to celebrate with his players after the last-gasp goal that saw Porto go through to the quarter finals.

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At Inter Milan where Mourinho won the treble in the 2009/10 campaign. En route to his UCL triumph at the end of that particular season, his Inter Milan team disposed of Barcelona at the Semi-finals. Despite losing 1-0 in the return leg at Camp Nou, Inter secured a final berth with a 3-2 aggregate win. At the end of the match, Mourinho went on a euphoric run around the Camp Nou pitch gesticulating at everyone present until Victor Valdes stopped him in a bid to put an end to his moment of craziness. Mourinho’s point was undoubtedly taken, he had knocked out the club where he was once served as an assistant coach.

As Real Madrid’s coach, Mourinho did not desist from his antics. In 2011, Mourinho poked Barcelona’s assistant coach at the time, Tito Vilanova, in the eyes during a touchline altercation. An action for which he subsequently received a two-match ban which was eventually lifted. Also, in a UCL game against Manchester City in 2013 in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning goal in the dying stages of the match to make the scoreline 3-2. Mourinho, hellbent on adding salt to City’s injury, deemed it inconsequential to violate laid down rules and encroached on the pitch by sliding on his knees onto the Santiago Bernabeu pitch in celebration much to the chagrin of his opponents.

During his second stint as Chelsea’s manager, Mourinho notably drew the ire of a number of opposition managers. He did not leave it at that, as he often aimed veiled swipes at match officials for which he was fined on different occasions. Mourinho’s most memorable spat in Chelsea’s colours aside from when he wrongly dismissed Eva Carneiro was when he labelled Gunners’ coach at the time, Arsene Wenger, a ‘specialist in failure’ due to Wenger’s inability to deliver a trophy for a number of seasons. Subsequently, in an October 2014 Stamford Bridge clash between both managers’ teams, Mourinho and Wenger were involved in a touchline clash that almost resulted in a physical show of power but for the timely intervention of the officiating referee.

Currently, Mourinho is the manager of Manchester United, a club whose fans had once hated him and stilll, the club has enjoyed its own fair share of Mourinho’s irksome nature. In Manchester United colours, he has received touchline bans as well. A noteworthy event was the tunnel clash in the aftermath of the Manchester derby of the 2017/18 season at Old Trafford. Manchester City had defeated Manchester United and had arguably sealed their title fate in December by winning the match in question. As the situation demanded, there was euphoria within the ranks of City’s players and technical crew and as such the Cityzens resorted to playing music and cheering noisily in the dressing room allocated to them. Mourinho would not have it and challenged the City team for celebrating loudly. To cut the long story short, City’s assistant coach Mikel Arteta was left with a part of his face blooded and Mourinho’s coat was allegedly soaked with milk after a brawl occurred involving both United and City’s players due to Mourinho’s earlier remonstrations.

More recently, Mourinho’s name has sprung up for the wrong reasons yet again. This issue having to do with Chelsea’s last-gasp equaliser against Manchester United in their recent EPL match at Stamford Bridge. What stood out for many was the fact that Mourinho took exceptions to the manner in which Marco Ianni (Chelsea’s second assistant coach) carried out his celebration of Chelsea’s equaliser. Unsurprisingly,  Mourinho’s reaction to Chelsea’s second assistant coach’s celebration in front of his technical area has come under intense scrutiny and criticism because he charged after Ianni down the tunnel with undiluted vexation after Ianni had earlier swung his fists in front of a seated Mourinho while celebrating Chelsea’s goal. Mourinho was however prevented from confronting him by the stewards meanwhile a massive melee had erupted.

Looking at it closely, if Mourinho had not built for himself a reputation of spiting oppositions, then Marco Ianni would not have been propelled to jubilate the way he did as he was merely treading on Mourinho’s footprints. It is rather ironic that Mourinho would find fault with Ianni’s actions, after all he is the grandmaster when it comes to doing things of that sort. It is a clear case of Karma as the tides seem to have turned and Manchester United’s recent performances have continued to make him an object of scrutiny. With the way things are going, Mourinho might be getting more jibes from opponents in coming weeks if his team keeps playing the way they currently are.

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Hopefully, Mourinho will learn to refrain from taunting future oppositions because ‘one bad turn deserves *******!’

 

Penned by Dominic Prodigy

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