Jose Mourinho is famous for winning trophies, claiming he’s the ‘Special One’ and failing spectacularly in the third season with a football team, having done the same at Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United and he’s explained why.
When Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United lost 3-1 to Liverpool on December 16th last year it meant that United were 19 points behind their rivals, who led the Premier League table, and were in sixth place.
Just seven months before United had also been 19 points behind the league leaders but at least they were in second place.
The fall of four places wasn’t a good look but it wasn’t all that surprising. United had played to their maximum to finish second the season before but importantly this was Jose Mourinho’s third season in charge.
In his previous two jobs, at Real Madrid and Chelsea, things had gone badly for Mourinho in his third season in charge and so the pattern followed at Old Trafford.
Now Mourinho has revealed why things have gone wrong in the third season for him, and he’s not taking all the blame. Talking to L’Equipe the former Porto boss said:
“Generally, the players can feel a certain erosion. Especially when you ask a lot of them. When I say that the second season was fantastic, I say it because the potential and the objectives were met.
“Why? Because I really squeezed, like an orange, to achieve them. When you have a very professional group of players who are ambitious, hard-working and talented, at a structured club, you don’t have that erosion.
“When you are almost alone, in that you don’t have the support of the club close to you, while certain players go somewhat against the coach, who is the nice guy.
“I don’t want to be the nice guy, because the nice guy, after three months, is a puppet and that doesn’t end well.
“But you shouldn’t be a coach who is negative all the time, either. You need to look for that balance. In fact, the problem of the coach is the same as that which a teacher at a school can have.”
Yeah, that ‘nice manager’ line has to be a dig at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the Portuguese tactician’s former side didn’t exactly improve without him.
There was an upturn in fortunes early on but by the end of the season United were still in sixth and closer to the relegation zone than they were champions Manchester City.
Mourinho claimed last summer that finishing second with United last season was one of the best achievements of his career and with hindsight it’s not as daft as it once was.
That said the start of this season was just as bad as the end of it and when it happens at Real, Chelsea and United you have to ask questions of the manager.
Where will Mourinho mess up in the third season next?