Jose Mourinho, the self-acclaimed ‘Special One’, is back in English football. Most of us will welcome him as he provides some much-needed spice, plus a serious challenge to the Manchester duopoly, in the post-Ferguson Premier League. His platinum-plated arrogance both rankles and amuses in equal measure.
His CV is pretty impressive with success in his native Portugal, Italy and of course in his previous incarnation at Stamford Bridge. He is in select company, having won The Champions League with two different clubs and domestic titles in four different countries. Real Madrid may be a slight blot but he did squeeze in a Copa del Rey in his first season and took away Barcelona’s grip on La Liga in his second. As failures go that is not a calamity.
So there is little doubt he is good at his job, ask Ibrahimovic, the Swedish behemoth fawns on his managerial powers, as revealed in his modestly, intriguingly entitled autobiography ‘I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ “That guy says whatever he wants. I like him. He’s the leader of his army.” He makes his teams difficult to beat and sometimes difficult to watch but Chelsea fans would, like most others, choose substance over style. Ask any Arsenal fan.
But there is the small matter of his whingeing, which materialised after Bayern Munich's recent squeaky, slightly fortuitous Super Cup win. Jose bleated about “this is my history with Uefa for a long, long time” and how the devils incarnate have been cooking up trouble to undermine Mourinho. Poor old Jose has had to contend with this endless campaign to do him down. Well Uefa may not be everybody’s cup of tea or anybody’s favourite governing body for European football but not even Platini's henchmen would stoop that low.
No this is just another example of the persecution complex that most leading managers employ to rally their troops. It's us against the rest of the world, let's gather round and batten down the hatches. The enemy are everywhere, we are surrounded. Mourinho also employs the trait of all successful club managers, Ferguson & Wenger pre-2005, that of partial vision whereby one develops an incredible capacity to view things through one eye.
That single rather squint eye only sees selective moments from the game and also distorts anything outside that view. The result is that any loss is the fault of the officials, referees, assistant referees, technology, FA, UEFA - the usual suspects. You will never hear any admission of failure or culpability laid at the feet of the team or woe betide, the manager. This is an attitude akin to that of a playground 'it's not my fault, sir it was that horrible big boy Webb. He's a cheat.' Alright Jose, now be a good boy, sit back down at your desk and try not to throw those toys out of the pram again.