Jose Mourinho – The declining one?
Jose Mourinho – The declining one
After a summer of rebuilding at Old Trafford, Manchester United haven’t quite hit the expectations their massive spending had set, though Jose Mourinho did manage to get one over his coaching rival Pep Guardiola on the most recent derby day.
Juan Mata was the match-winner for Mourinho’s men as they narrowly edged out Manchester City 1-0 in the EFL Cup, setting up a quarter-final clash with Londoners West Ham United on home soil, after they toppled Chelsea.
Despite the League Cup result, the Red Devils are still under pressure and Mourinho has plenty of work to do to boost the club’s current Premier League position following an indifferent start to his maiden campaign in charge.
Man Utd, who are now 3/1 with Coral to win the EFL Cup this term, have endured four defeats already from their opening 15 games under ‘the Special One’. So, after such esteemed success around Europe beforehand, is the Portuguese tactician becoming ‘the declining one’?
Mourinho’s first 15 games at past clubs
Mourinho made a bright beginning to proceedings at his new club, winning the Community Shield against top-flight champions Leicester City, before prevailing in the first three league outings over Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull City.
The Old Trafford coach has already tasted defeat four times on all fronts since, though, and his side have been held to a draw on two occasions by Stoke City and Liverpool. So how does this start compare to Mourinho’s first 15 games in charge of his former clubs?
During his first spell in charge of Chelsea, after modestly announcing himself in England as ‘the Special One’, Mourinho enjoyed a strong start by guiding the Blues to a 10-match unbeaten run, losing just once in 15 games on the sidelines. This also included two draws and notable victories over PSG, Porto and Liverpool.
The Portuguese manager’s return to Stamford Bridge wasn’t as smooth sailing, as he won just two of his opening six games inside 90 minutes, including a UEFA Super Cup final loss to Bayern Munich on penalties. Though, an undefeated streak of nine games followed a European loss to Basel.
At Inter Milan, Mourinho instantly got stuck in and adjusted to the tactical and defensive approach in Serie A, losing just one of his opening 15 games while in Italy. His only loss came in the derby clash against AC Milan at the San Siro and he ultimately won the title in his maiden season.
After 15 matches in charge of Real Madrid, Mourinho had hit the ground running too and was undefeated, including impressive successes over AC Milan in the Champions League and a La Liga victory against city rivals Atletico Madrid. His first came in a 5-0 thumping to Barcelona, who eventually won the title.
The Portuguese coach is evidently enduring his toughest start to life at a new club, with a slight decline seemingly having crept in since returning to London for his second stint of Chelsea. Though, it’s likely he will be given plenty of time to turn form and fortunes around in Manchester.
Comparison with Moyes and Van Gaal
Following the three successive defeats to Feyenoord, Man City and Watford in September, Mourinho found himself under immense scrutiny and many jumped to comparisons with predecessor Louis van Gaal and other formerly dismissed Old Trafford boss David Moyes.
But how do Mourinho’s opening 15 games compare to the Dutchman and Scot at the club?
Under Van Gaal, the Red Devils were coming off the back of a season in which Moyes had been sacked and club legend Ryan Giggs had temporarily taken charge before becoming the former Barcelona and Bayern boss’ assistant.
United’s misery looked set to continue, though, with Van Gaal seeing his tenure begin with just one win in four games, which included two losses, most embarrassingly to MK Dons in the League Cup. They were two of four eventual defeats in his first 15 games, while he also oversaw as many draws.
For Moyes, the Scot suffered three defeats and as many stalemates in his opening 15 outings during the 2013/14 campaign, and he was eventually given the boot in May the following year.
Mourinho’s reign so far has saw him lose as many games as Van Gaal in their respective opening campaigns at this stage, while he has a worse record than Moyes and is also enduring his worst managerial start in charge of a top European side.
Whether this is proof that Mourinho is now becoming ‘the declining one’ or that he is just suffering a career blip, because of the previously high standards which have been set, will only be decided with time.
Therefore, upcoming fixtures against Burnley, Fenerbahce, Swansea City and Arsenal could be more decisive than initially thought for the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’, as he looks to swiftly turns things around after his derby day triumph.
Jose Mourinho’s first 15 games at clubs
Chelsea (first spell): W, W, W, W, D, W, D, W, W, W, L, W, W, W, W
Inter Milan: D, D, W, W, W, W, L, D, W, W, W, D, D, W, D
Real Madrid: D, W, W, W, W, D, W, W, W, W, W, D, W, D, W
Chelsea (second spell): W, W, D, D, L, L, W, W, D, W, W, W, W, W, W
Man Utd: W, W, W, W, L, L, L, W, W, W, D, D, W, L, W
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