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18th Apr 2015

Jose Mourinho: The Devil’s true successor

Nooruddean Choudry

Jose Mourinho may be one of Louis van Gaal’s many disciples, but the Chelsea manager’s soul is stained with the dark malevolence of Sir Alex Ferguson…

There were many who assumed that Mourinho would be the chosen one to replace Ferguson at Old Trafford; a great many United fans wanted it to happen. The timings were right, and then Real Madrid coach showed due deference and respect when the two met in the Champions League.

Real Madrid v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 : News Photo

It didn’t happen. Ferguson anointed the woefully under-qualified and ill-prepared David Moyes and it was a still-born mess. The former Evertonian was never given ample time to prove himself, but you don’t get that at United. The club needed immediate results. They needed Mourinho.

Whether the Portuguese would have forsaken Chelsea for one of the biggest jobs in world football is irrelevant. He is hardly suffering from the oversight at his beloved Stamford Bridge now. Nevertheless, he was thought to be Fergie’s natural successor. And in many ways, Jose is exactly that.

Real Madrid v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 : News Photo

He may wear a blue emblem on his well-tailored suit rather than a Manchester coat of arms, but Mourinho the coach is the Machiavellian son of Alex. There is the same stone heart towards anyone silly enough to consider him genuine, and the same cruel manipulation of anything that guarantees success.

The calculated charm is there in droves; an intoxicating charisma that flatters victims into thinking they matter. It works on players, colleagues, and importantly the press. And it is used in parallel with the perennial threat: Enjoy the sly grin, or let me down and face the scowl that’s worst than a knife.

Manchester United v Inter Milan - UEFA Champions League : News Photo

If the enigmatic smile is a very thin veil, the torment and manipulation of officials is blatant. Any rant or whisper that can possibly coerce a favourable decision either now or the future is worth the collateral damage. Even if that’s the reputation of a peer, or the livelihood of a broken man.

Ferguson was the king of misdirection, and Jose continues that legacy. If a woeful performance or shocking tackle is in danger of placing pressure upon his players, the devious Portuguese will invent a controversy or make himself the story. Just like the grand Govan menace did before him.

Manchester United v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 : News Photo

Similarly, he will turn his dark arts on his own, if it can elicit a suitable reaction. He bullies, cajoles and brainwashes his charges for optimum performance. Thus the famous siege mentality. They say love is the greatest power in the world. Not in football it isn’t – hate is a far more effective spur.

Gary Neville suggests that Mourinho is Van Gaal’s greatest ever achievement. The Dutchman doesn’t deserve that label. One of the Chelsea manager’s greatest influences was the great Sir Bobby Robson, one of the sweetest souls who ever coached. Neither is to blame for Jose.

Vitesse Arnhem v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly : News Photo

The devil was always inside the Portuguese. He is a twisted genius all of his own. But if we’re looking for a prototype or a mentor, it is surely the greatest bastard of all-time.

If Sir Alex Ferguson was indeed the devil, Mourinho is the demon brat who perfected his art.