I am a massive Jose Mourinho fan. I loved him from the moment he did the celebration with his Porto team at Old Trafford in 2004.
I’ve always defended him from critics.
But, heartbreakingly, this week I found myself doubting him. Like one of my trusty old hockey sticks, I felt disloyal to even be questioning whether it still had it.
The Arsenal result was not good but Tottenham’s loss to Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday in the Europa League was a disaster. It was the manner of defeat as much as anything else.
The post-match interviews caught my attention, particularly Hugo Lloris saying: “We’re a club full of ambition but the team at the moment I just think is a reflection of what’s going on in our club.”
Whichever way you top and tail that sentence it doesn’t sound good for Mourinho.
Lloris then went further in questioning the attitude of the squad, saying they lacked “basics” and “fundamentals”.
Alarming statements if you are Daniel Levy, or any Spurs fan for that matter.
Mourinho has never been a long-term manager such as Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger, three years being the tops he can sustain at any club.
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The reason for that is his personality. He will always have as many enemies as he will friends.
His abrasiveness will work effectively to a point, but then begin to irritate those working around him, hence so many players loving him and then feeling they have had enough of him.
Clubs know this when they hire Mourinho, and it doesn’t take away from him being a great coach.
But my worries are over whether his managerial effectiveness is getting shorter by the match. The aura that has surrounded the Special One over the years has probably bought him more time with players and clubs, but that seems to be fading.
Are Jose Mourinho’s managerial powers fading? Have your say in the comments.
Following Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs was never going to be easy yet in just over 15 months, part of which was disrupted by Covid, it feels as though Mourinho has lost or is losing many players and fans.
Has the short-term effectiveness of his managerial style become so short-term there is little effectiveness left?
It is a tough question to ask for a Mourinho supporter such as me, but I now think it a fair one.
Players evolve during their careers and managers must do the same.
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I am certain Mourinho has done so, but maybe has never been able to get away from that fundamental part of his character that can be brilliant but can also rub people up the wrong way.
If Tottenham can grab at Champions League spot, then all is not lost this season, but it is perilously close to a disaster for them.
Top players could leave in the summer and everything will unravel. There would then be serious questions over where Mourinho goes from there.
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