The Sith Lord of Anti-Football recently gave an interview where he was talking about the Premiership title contenders and the clubs he might end up at. The headlines that came out after the interview were along the lines that Jose dismissed the title hopes of Liverpool and Arsenal.
Before I go further I must confess that I don’t like Mourinho at all. He is a genius no doubt, but an evil one who achieves success with the worst possible anti-football. The simplest way to define my problem with him is this – if the managers at the top ten clubs were like him no one would be able to watch football; the beautiful game would end up as the most boring sport in the world. If you don’t realize how this can be just go and watch the Liverpool V Chelsea (Benitez V Mourinho) games that almost always ended in drab scoreless draws or were decided by a freak goal from a set-piece.
Anyway, debating the Dark Lord’s strengths and weaknesses is not the point of this post. I believe that deep down inside Mourinho has always envied Arsenal and Wenger. He is too smart a man to let it be known but it’s not difficult to see why this is the case.
While Mourinho was in England his Chelsea were never considered a joy to watch. They won plaudits for their success but never for playing the beautiful game. Arsenal were always mentioned above Chelsea as the most entertaining side, even when Arsenal were playing kids. I think part of the reason the Dark Lord was fired (let’s not fall for the mutual consent euphemism) was that the owner, who’d invested hundreds of millions, never really enjoyed watching the team. For a man with his talents and with the kind of success he’s achieved that knowledge must surely be a thorn in his flesh. Even at Inter, Mourinho spent a crazy amount of money and was successful in terms of trophies, but could never entertain.
Now he faces a Real challenge! I’m not sure the Bernabeu crowd will accept what he did at Chelsea and Inter. They might for a year or so because even their indiscriminate spending has not taken them anywhere and they must be desperate for trophies. But, just as Capello found out, he can get the sack even if he wins a title or two with mind numbing anti-football.
The Dark Lord is also smart enough to realize that he is in his dream job only because Wenger turned it down!! Imagine that, a manager wins the League title in three countries and the Champions League with two different clubs but is still second or third choice at his dream club behind a man who hasn’t won a title in five years!
I can clearly see why Mourinho is jealous of Arsene. Another factor that must rankle him is the fact that Arsene has developed so many youngsters on a tight budget while he has been spending with gay abandon. For every Sneijder who has starred for him there is a Mancini who has flopped; for every Milito there is a Quaresma. His achievements get diluted when his transfer success is taken into account.
It wasn’t surprising that Mourinho mentioned finding and developing a youngster as one of his managerial goals around the time he signed for Madrid. Once again the man is bright enough to know that developing an odd kid will not prove anything but it will at least give him a counter argument.
In this light, I found his recent comments quite amusing.
I don’t think Arsenal can win. Year after year it looks like they will but no. It’s always the same type of comment, ‘It’s a young team, it will be next season. I remember we played them in a Carling Cup final [in 2007] with a team of young boys, but they are no longer a team of young boys. They are now a team of 25, 26, 27-year-olds.
Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Gael Clichy, Alex Song, Bacary Sagna – they’re not a team of kids any more, they’re of an age to win things, but I don’t think they will do it.
Are you surprised that he still remembers that Carling Cup final? An Arsenal team full of kids gave the multi-million pound Chelsea a real scare and stole the spotlight from his title win. A clear indication of how well Arsenal have developed is that Mourinho actually thinks Fabregas, Walcott, and Song are 25, 26, 27 year old pros.
In reality that’s been a problem for Arsenal. The kids have been so good and performed so far above the level other teams with kids would have that many people don’t truly understand the ‘it’s a young team’ argument.
Interestingly, in the same interview, Mourinho had a go at Liverpool and Benitez. The Dark Lord’s dislike for Liverpool is not difficult to understand either. After all, Benitez dumped his Chelsea out of the Champions League on two occasions. Surely, that was another factor that contributed to his dismissal from a club where he couldn’t win the Champions League in spite of spending the combined transfer budget of ten, perhaps twelve clubs.
Now I’m sure many of you will see why I find the Dark Lord amusing and don’t really buy his doom and gloom predictions. On one point though I agree with him, we are no longer a team of young boys. That makes him envious and fills me with confidence.