Mourinho out of time in Madrid?

Mourinho out of time in Madrid?


Jose Mourinho has many gifts. For organisation, for having team buy into a philosophy, for quick quips and irritation. It’s perhaps fitting that a master of hyperbole has been pilloried by the more rampant sensationalists in the British media concerning his antics during and after the Spanish Supercup.

As the four Clasicos in seventeen days last season proved, these teams have no love for each other – on or off the pitch. After their loss in the Champions’ League Semi-Final in (April/May), Mourinho made statements which, if he had his time again, would probably re-consider. Barcelona thought about legal action, but opted against it.

After a horrendous tackle by Marcelo on Barcelona new boy Cesc Fabregas, benches cleared. Mourinho is now under scrutiny for an incident involving Barcelona assistant Tito Villanova (bear in mind this analysis does come from the Daily Mail, well known for sensationalism). The Sun – also known for siutational amplification – also suggested Mourinho is approaching Real’s tolerance threshold. Even the more moderate Daily Telegraph and The Independent questioned The Special One’s tenure at the Bernabeu.

Comments branding Barcelona “a small team” didn’t help and, alongside his paranoiac mania following their Champions’ League exit, contribute to an image of a man either on the edge or who plays mind games at a black belt level. His comments more and more mimic those of dictators – strong, usually charismatic leaders with a firm grasp on a tiny part of the world – but from the outside viewed as small-time.

In today’s Guardian, a spokesman for Los Merengues’ manager says his role in the stoush was “defending Real Madrid’s interests”. The Independent – and Paul Hayward – have asked if Jose is still worth his antics. When each match between the two best teams in football descends into a melee, it is a fair question.

Even Real Madrid, a club not known for patience and lenience with their managers, would be rash to fire the man who has transformed them from also-rans into an outfit who will challenge Barcelona. The side has apparently improved markedly over the offseason, fuelled by more spending (Fabio Coentrao and Nuri Sahin) and another year’s acclimation to Mourinho’s tactics. In the match in question, most observers had them slightly edging the match until defeated by a typically classy Messi goal.

Jose may feel pressure to succeed and consequently just be acting out more. This is unlikely given his past posts and the high expectations he must have shouldered there. He may feel the mindset of his squad is so fragile it can’t bear a defeat to Barcelona without attendant, media-diverting controversy. Maybe his ego has become so large that he’s lost some perspective. Any increase in his antics is due to a combination of all three factors.

It would be folly to ignore the lack of discipline and leadership Jose Mourinho has received from the Real Madrid front office. Perhaps more than anything else, this has empowered Mourinho to say and do what he likes. Given his results so far, it would be wrong if he were made to fear for his job. But he should be made to respect discipline – UEFA’s, La Liga’s or from Perez himself.

Since his Chelsea days at least, Mourinho’s modus operandi has been to instill a siege mentality about his players, defending them from media scrutiny and removing any pressure from his boys by deflecting or absorbing it himself. By doing so, he’s produced remarkably successful units at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and now Real. At the Bernabeu, however, once former General Manager and blatant Jose-antagonist Jorge Valdano was removed, he’s received only minimal leadership from the front office. He has not been censured for his actions, some of which should have desperately deserved it.

Indeed by removing Valdano, Mourinho’s only internal source of dissent, Real President Florentino Perez has actually served as an enabler. Corporate, family or political leadership – real leadership – comes not from money, but from making tough decisions. In this, Florentino Perez has failed as Real Madrid President. While Jose Mourinho is mandated to bring success to Real Madrid on the pitch, it is Perez’s responsibility to make sure he does so in a manner worthy of his institution.

To draw parallels from politics, were Perez the head of a government and failed to adequately discipline a general he would risk his own career. In a non-entertainment business role – well, just look at what happened at the News of the World. When people whose job it is to get results don’t get guidance from above their practices can slip into the unorthodox, unpleasant and sometimes the illegal.

Jose Mourinho hasn’t done anything illegal during his status at Real. What he has done, though, is get (some) results and inflame an already-heated rivalry by being boorish. If Florentino Perez is happy to make that tradeoff, theirs shall be a match made in heaven. The only alternative is for Perez to man up and act like the leader his position says he should be.

Matthew Wood regularly contributes to Soccerlens.  You can read more of his analysis and commentary at Balanced Sports or follow him on Twitter @balanced_sports.

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  1. Solid analysis. Perez needs to stand up like a man and defend his institution from going down the drain with Mourinho. Is this Mourinho guy insane or what? Why has no one taught him a lesson on manners?

  2. Barca and the press is trying to influence UEFA, RM & its President how to deal with its players , officials and manager. Barca players, officials and managers are also the same that caused the tension. I dont see RM fans, President talking & complaining about the tension during the game. No wonder Mourinho call Barca small boys playing and time wasting. Barca is scared of Mourinho….

    • I think people are taking the situation with Jose much too seriously. Everyone knows he’s a character with a big mouth, bigger ego and an attention whore. So when he’s under a microscope in a pressure cooker and snaps, people get all worked up? Seriously, what do you expect?

      The Mourinho-related grousings of online journalists regarding the level of attention RM’s club President pays to Jose’s antics matter about as much as what colour Dennis Rodman’s hair currently is.

      • man barca are scare of real madrid players like cr7 like pique and puyol always in cristianos ass man and every time they play real madrid end up with 10 players man barca is corrupt they pay the referies man

  3. Mourinho is an arrogant pig with a god complex that rivals mario ballotelli. But i think he is a brilliant manager. For example a game like the classico would be extremely nerve racking for all the players involved, especially because of the media but mourinho makes it so most of the hype and media attention is drawn away from the players and focused on himself. which would relieve the players immensely and let them focus on the real reason they get paid more than doctors….. The football

  4. Mourinho may be a good manager, but his ego will not allow him to continue to succeed. If he fails to accept the fact that Barca is currently the best football club on the globe, his job will seriously be threatened. Without any reservations i can boldly say Barca is the best team of the moment since it has the best crop of players including Messi

  5. Mourinho is the best manager in d world n as for being superior to perez:that is a pure lie.the manager deserves respect thats all.

  6. He is just frustrated cos he is called the best and i guess he has finally met his match(guardiola) what he has to do is go to pep like a little baby and ask for advice on how to at least get a draw in thier next encounter

  7. Something has clearly been forgotten in this analysis.
    Mourinho said, after the break, the ballboys had disappeared, as you only see as a tactic for timewinning with small teams.
    Barcelona, despite playing beautiful football on a very high level, are a small team.
    The way they try to get in the referees favour, by play acting injuries and provocate other teams during games are beyond anything I’ve seen so far.

    The incident with Marcelo at the last supercup (the tackle on Fabregas)happened after the guy had been hearing racist chants all match and got pushed in the face twice by Dani Alves. Messi had just scored the winning goal and half of the Barca players crawling on the floor with alledged cramps and injuries.

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