Jose Mourinh


Football has undergone through a process of transformation as a result of various guiding principles being put in place to guide the actions in the pitch. José Mário dos Santos Félix Mourinho was born on 26 January 1963 in a place called Setubal. He is the present Portuguese football manager and also Real Madrid’s manager in the Spanish La Liga. He was nicknamed “The Special One.” This was a self proclaimed identity that was later taken up by British media. He was the son of Portuguese goalkeeper, José Félix Mourinho. Mourinho began his career in football when he was still young, but when he realized that he lacked football skills, he switched his gear to becoming a manager. In 1990s, he worked as an assistant manager and later became Sir Bobby Robson’s interpreter. During this period, Mourinho acquired much knowledge from the veteran coach as they worked together at the Sporting Clube de Portugal and Porto in Portugal before following the veteran coach to Barcelona in Spain. It is worth noting that soccer has gone through a major evolution in past 18 years. Rules are different, equipments have developed, and much more money is involved to soccer industry. However, the biggest difference past 18 years, when looking at World Cup 2010 in South Africa or UEFA Champions League 2010-2011, and comparing them to World Cup 1994 in USA , or in the UEFA  Champions League 1994-1995, has been the tactical aspects of the game, especially the way the game is coaches. He is best remembered for his efforts at Chelsea Football Club where he transformed the team to winning ways. This paper presents a research about José Mário dos Santos Félix Mourinho.

José Mário dos Santos Félix Mourinho

According to Brown, Jose Mourinho began his career in coaching following his insights of success at Sport Lisboa e Benfica and União de Leiria. He later returned to Porto in 2002 as head coach where he became recognized by many football fans after achieving a three wins in the Portuguese Liga, UEFA cup in 2003, and Cup of Portugal. In 2004, Mourinho guided the team to the top of the league and won the highest honor the UEFA Champions League.

Even though the debut season proved difficult to beat, since his team was not impressive, he managed to give Porto an easy champion win with an advantage of eight points and unbeaten run. After losing the cup to Benfica, Mourinho decided to build the team through teamwork. This made them to manage a defeat against real Madrid in the first phase. Mourinho when still at Porto, he was linked to talks with Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea; however, this move was questioned in terms of its legality. The reason why the signing of the contract was questioned was because both teams were in Champions League semifinals. Despite of all the legality issues, Mourinho had shows signs that he would leave after the end of the season. Following Porto’s win of the Champions League, Porto began official talks with Chelsea. He was later transferred and he became one of the highest earning managers globally.

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When in Champions League 18 years ago, the most talented teams were in final (Ajax Amsterdam- AC Milan) in 2010 final (Inter FC – Bayern Munich).For example, there were the two best tactically coached team to their talent. The winner was the team that didn’t have the best players in the world, but who had the tactical genius of modern soccer, Jose Mourinho as their coach. The Portuguese coached his winner team, Internazionale FC, for two years. During those two years, the genius turned the team totally around .He got couple players that would fill his tactical way of thinking, and he overturned the whole game plan and strategy. Instead of giving too much freedom to their players, he made everyone to work together, and especially react fast.

Fast reacting from individuals as a team has been the thesis of the game style in teams that Jose Mourinho has coached to success. First winning with Porto UEFA Cup and Champions League back to back years 2003-2004 and every domestic competition, he moved to Chelsea FC. The story continued, this time he made the team that was still uncounted to win titles in the most distinguished League, English Premier League, to win back to back league titles, 2 League cups, FA Cup, and Community title, all in 3 years. After Coaching Chelsea FC, between 2004 and 2007, Mourinho decided to sign a 3 years deal with Italian League Team, Internazionale FC (Brown 2). With Inter, he accomplished success to be counted as one of the few top elite teams in the world, which all culminated to winning the UEFA Champions League against Bayern Munich, in 2010 final. Right after, Mourinho announced a move to Real Madrid, even when he had one year left in his contract with Inter FC. The reason for leaving, according to Mourinho was that he had nothing more to win with Inter after winning all three competitions in one year.

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Mourinho has become known as the genius after his quick success as a head coach. But what really makes him to be said the best coach in the world right now? One of the reasons is that Mourinho spends most time working in the tactical aspect of the game: how to press, when to press, transitions, ball possession, and positional play. If these tactical aspects, Mourinho see especially transition of the game really important aspect of successful team: In the interview published with Chelsea FC, he stated the importance of transition in modern soccer by following:  “Transition have become crucial, when the opponent is organized defensively, it is very difficult to score. The moment the opponent loses the ball can be the time to exploit the opportunity of someone being out of position”. Although, many coaches sees set pieces as the difference of winning and losing tight games, Mourinho sees it more important that team can quickly turn a defensive play into offensive play, and quickly react to turnovers when playing offence. It sounds simple, but it is a long journey to make every piece of game to work together and hold the game plan. With the short-off season everything has to be efficient what comes to practice, to be able to get the team ready right from the begging. This is one of the Mourinho’s strengths, he is very good at planning practices, which leads to keeping players focused in practice and motivated.

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According to his interview with Chelsea FC, his biggest plan for every season is “not to waste any time”. With good practice plan he minimizes the time wasting. He has clearly established his priorities, which in his coaching philosophy are: Must- the tactical aspects of the game, should- the physical and psychological aspect being part of the exercise, and could-the individual work is done when we feel the players need that. In his practice plans, he also wants to make sure that everyone will get best out of their practice. This he finds best to be done by separating players in some practices to work in different groups, depending on their condition and amount of playing time they have had. This helps the players to feel motivated all the time, when they get to train in their individual optimal level.

Mourinho’s coaching style is very holistic. He likes to make the practice to be easily moved to the game field. He makes the practice to fit the situation of the game by focusing, shaping, and enchasing the practice. For example, when working on transition of the game to both ways, he sometimes likes to keep six players under the ball all the time, to make it closest to game situations. He also likes to keep the tempo and intensity high in the training that it will be easier to switch tactical aspects of game from practice to game field. To make it possible, he gives his thoughts to players in paper that everyone knows what the practices are meant to train and no time is wasted during practice. The outcome of Mourinho’s trainings is always tactical.

What comes to the coaching in games, Mourinho can be separated from many other coaches as well. According to his own words, he is very analytical in the first half, writing things down, and analyzing the game. During the half-time team talk, he likes to control his emotions. That means he can be very cool or he can be very emotional because the team needs a certain response from him. There is always a certain emotional component as well as a tactical contribution on the half time talk. He gives the certain information needed for the team to be ready to complete his strategy in the second half, to complete the needed result. In the second half, he just likes to mainly follow the game, make substitutions that he has already planned before, and only reacts for quick changes in the game if necessary. After the game, he does not like to switch one word with the players, because the players are not ready to be analytical at that moment Brown 1).

To be where he is right now, Mourinho has done lots of work following great coaches. During his years as an assistant coach he tried his best to observe the head coaches and their coaching style. He took notes, followed their trainings and training methods, their strategies and game plans. Personally, he said that it was really important for him to meet different coaching philosophies, like English head coach, Sir Bobby Robson, in Sporting Lissabon, and Dutch head coach, Louis Van Gaal, in Barcelona, which helped him to put things together from different aspects to build his own coaching philosophy that right now has been said to be the winning philosophy. He might sound arrogant, when saying in all press interviews that his team will win the game, but he is just so confident with his coaching. This winning philosophy with his pure confidence on his coaching, attached to the players as well. He has brought 19 titles in different competitions, since he started as a head coach in 2000.

It is worth noting that Mourinho’s managerial career began in 2000 at Benfica, and then he moved to Uniao de Leiria from 2001 to 2002. From 2002 to 2004, he served as a manger at Porto. He later became Chelsea manager from 2004 to 2007. In 2008 to 2010, he became the Internazionale’s manager. Mouriho moved to Real Madrid in 2010 where he still serves as the head coach.            


Mourinho is a very successful football manager, and also very controversial manager. When Mourinho was at Chelsea, he was seen as a controversial figure in football. This became clear when he made various outspoken comments that saw him being punished on several occasions by the football authorities. He has moved from small to bigger teams and still managed to be successful. Some coaches such as the current Barcelona’s coach has described him as the best coach in the world because he gives his thoughts to players in paper that everyone knows what the practices are meant to train and no time is wasted during practice. The outcome of Mourinho’s trainings is always tactical. It is believed that his successes are as a result of his coaching style that is very holistic. He likes to make the practice to be easily moved to the game field. He makes the practice to fit the situation of the game by focusing, shaping, and enchasing the practice. Football will still transform and it is important to have good coaches to guide players in the pitch just like Mourinho has always done. 

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