The Post-Mourinho Effect

by Justin Cormick

Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European Champion and I think I’m a special one.

In nine seasons of European Football Jose Mourinho has won seven domestic leagues, four domestic cup trophies, one UEFA Cup (now Europa League), and 2 UEFA Champions Leagues with four separate clubs. Mourinho has been awarded ‘Manager of the Year’ six times in three different leagues, and the 2010 FIFA Ballon d’Or Best Manager. With the success he has had for each of his clubs, there is no denying Mourinho deserves his nickname, ‘the Special One’.

Under Mourinho FC Porto won six trophies, including one UEFA Cup and one UEFA Champions League. Mourinho departed for Chelsea in 2004. In London, Mourinho won six trophies before continual disagreements with owner Abramovich led to his midseason firing. After a short sabbatical, the Special One returned to football as manager at Inter Milan. In two seasons the Nerazzurri won five trophies, including the 2009-10 European Treble. Mourinho has been managing Real Madrid since 2010, where he has already won three trophies.

Madrid are aware of Mourinho’s success, and has already won them trophies. However if los Blancos are considereing replacing Mourinho, and any club that hires him in the future, will need to be aware of the effect he has on clubs once he has left. Porto, Chelsea and Inter have all experienced the ‘Post-Mourinho Effect’, they have had difficulty in maintaining managers after the success they experienced with the Special One.

Mourinho learnt his trade under Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal in Portugal and Barcelona. After brief management stints at Benfica and Leiria, Mourinho took over at Porto. By the end of the 2002-03 season, Porto had won the league, domestic cup and UEFA Cup. After the 2003-04 season they had won the league a second time and the UEFA Champions League.

Since Mourinho departed for Chelsea in 2004, Porto has had trouble maintaining constant management. Mourinho’s replacement, Luigi Delneri lasted a little over one month before his sacking. Three more managers were fired, and two resigned, including Andre Villas-Boas who followed Mourinho’s footsteps to Chelsea.

Mourinho’s arrival at Stamford Bridge made headlines with his ‘Special One’ comment to the media. In one season Chelsea won the Premier League and the League Cup. Mourinho added another Premier League the next season, and the FA Cup and League Cup the season after. Chelsea claimed Mourinho’s sudden departure was decided upon by ‘mutual consent’. He left as Chelsea’s most successful manager.

The Blues have also suffered from the post-Mourinho effect. Rafael Benitez is Chelsea’s eighth manager since the Special One. Five managers have been fired, while two were only caretaker managers in charge for brief periods.

Inter Milan became Mourinho’s next club when he became manager in 2008. In his first season, the Nerazzurri won the Serie A. His second season proved to be more successful. With Inter receiving the Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League, Mourinho had won his second treble.

Five managers have been in charge at Inter since Mourinho’s departed for Real Madrid. Three were fired and one, former AC Milan manager Leonardo, resigned. The Special One’s replacement, Rafael Benitez, did not last a full season at Inter, and has now taken over at Chelsea.

Mourinho arrived in Madrid with the task to overthrow Barcelona. In his first season los Blancos won the Copa del Rey, defeating Barca in the final. However, Barca knocked Madrid out of the 2011-12 season’s Cup, but Mourinho’s men overtook Barca to win the Spanish la Liga.

With only three throphies from two seasons, the Special One will be extra determined this season to come. Barca has already taken an impressive lead in la Liga, so Mourinho will need to exert all his efforts into the Champions League. With his impressive record, there is little doubt he will add to his trophy collection soon. However, the records also show the difficulty clubs have post-Mourinho.

If it can be said with any certainty that the Special One will win his clubs trophies, then it can be said with equal certainty that these clubs will have troubled times after his departure. Clubs should be warned, therefore, that although hiring Mourinho may bring results, it will bring difficulty in Mourinho’s absence.

7 Responses

  1. pradeep says:

    We know he has won trophies. But how much he has spent for them. wherever he goes he buys best players he likes and wins with them. Once he goes the new manager has to play them because of their price even though they doesnt suit their style. He is also clevar, he knows that he cannot maintain success at the same place and thus quits after 2- 3years. If he is so good why doesnt he take over clubs with little money like liverpool, arsenal, valencia, atletico madrid and win same titles. If he does this then he can be the special one.

    1. Uzoegheli says:

      I am sure you don’t expect Madrid to hire mourihno and tell him not to buy good players( Madrid policy)’, the same for chelsea , intermilan have also splashed the cash on quantum of stars befor mourihno and yet unable to get the real deal until Jose arrived, every other big clubs buy expensive, that aside the Porto side that made history under Jose were relatively a low budget team and the outstanding near perfect work of the special one with these teams were impeccable and I get the feeling you misunderstand the concept of football and club management, the barca team under pep could be valued at above $500m , by market capitalization, I doubt if other teams can boast of such roaster . I would be happy if you appreciate the excellent works of this great manager instead .

    2. Ebrahim says:

      Agree with Pradeep. Mourinho cleverly has not stayed longer than 3-4 seasons at one club. As Alex Ferguson himself stated once, to maintain success, a good team needs to be ‘built’ again every 4 seasons, i.e. new players, new ‘figureheads’. There’s no doubting that this philosophy is evident in the continual rebuilding of Man Utd – from star players such as Cantona, who are then seamlessly replaced as figureheads by such players as Keane, Scholes, Beckham, Ronaldo and (I believe now it is) Wayne Rooney. It would be interesting to see if Mourinho has the commitment/interest to build and rebuild a team in this way.

    3. RobH says:

      The fact that he managed Porto to successive UEFA Cup & Champions League wins with a team that had in previous seasons had little in the way of any European success or even progression surely throws a little water on your – “But how much he has spent for them. wherever he goes he buys best players he likes and wins with them” – comment.

      When with Chelsea he did nothing more than Ab demanded, before him Ranineri spent almost £100m in one season.

      With Inter he spent just over 60m including the undisclosed bids for Milito and Motta.. not a bad out-lay in order to achieve the success he did.

      With Madrid It must be noted that Mourinho was not responsible for the massive outlay on Ronaldo, Kaka, Benzema, Alonso, Arbeloa and Albiol, his Signing of Mesut Ozil for £15m shows that he can be very prudent and must go down as one of the steals of recent years

  2. Dean Lynch says:

    He brought short term successes by buying players for the now rather than for the future, hence the difficulty in promoting any sort of consistency from Chelsea or Inter in the years following his departures. More than likely won’t be so mad at Madrid seeing as most of the big players he’s bought are still young or only coming into their prime, the next manager will no doubt have big shoes to fill but with that team already together it’d be difficult not to do well.

    Your article just goes though his history without actually talking about why any of his clubs go into depression when he leaves. Seems pointless..

  3. Uzoegheli says:

    The core of the players Jose brought to stamford bridge were still the ones that delivered the champion league and were in the semis 2 or three times, we’re in the finals twice and have countless of trophies with Jose and other managers, like hiddink , ancelloti, dematteo, the problem is the owner have become some how confused and it affected Chelsea, I am certain Jose could have delivered the UCL for Chelsea at least more than once. I also have a feeling Jose work on mandate from his employers that are notably big clubs that want instant success , the barca policy and the Porto policy are similar so also for Manu, and I guess the works done in Porto could still be replicated anywhere depending on the desires of the club heirachy

  4. Alan says:

    Mourinho is no doubt a successful manager, his legacy has been forged on the back of his sheer will to win and the players believing in him. That is a great thing to have but he has spent lots of money to get those clubs where they were. You could even say Roberto Mancini and particularly Pellegrini built the Inter and Real sides he took over.

    As for club’s struggling, FC Porto bar the first season after Mourinho left Porto have won 6 League titles, 1 UEFA Cup, 4 Portuguese Cups. I don’t know how you judge that effect but that is a fair amount of success.

    Post Mourinho Chelsea, reached their first Champions League final 7 months after Mourinho left under Avram Grant. Grant actually beating Mourinho’s Chelsea nemesis Rafa Benitez and Liverpool in the semi-finals that season. The club won their first double under Ancelotti. Add 3 FA Cup’s and finally their first Champions League in their history I am pretty sure the success since Mourinho has been relatively continued.

    As for Inter Milan, the unwillingness of Massimo Moratti not to invest in an ageing squad under both managers in Benitez and Leonardo was Inter’s downfall.

    The work that Pellegrini done at Real, is getting overlooked badly. Its not as if Mourinho joined a side who finished just 3 points behind Barcelona…oh wait they actually did with a total of 96 points.

    Mourinho has done it all except build a legacy at one club, time will tell can he do that like Ferguson, Wenger in modern day football but of managers of the past like Busby, Clough, Paisley, Nicholson, Stein, Revie etc…

    The post-mourinho effect can be whatever way you look at it. Facts speak louder in the aftermath. Bar Inter, all the clubs have done decently well and he took over a Madrid side who had run Barcelona close the previous season under Pellegrini.

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