Opinion: Is Jose Mourinho truly the enemy of football?

Opinion: Is Jose Mourinho truly the enemy of football?

It is almost a year since Jose Mourinho famously spoke about “Einsteins” one might wonder what he meant or hoped to achieve by using that term but in typical Jose fashion, its use was both mocking and derogatory towards the chatter about the torrid period his side was in.

Fast forward to his second season the Einsteins are at it again, gagged by his superb start to the season and Man city home draw to Everton, chance missed to criticize the enemy of football once again, but life served hors d`oeuvres in the form of a draw away at Anfield, the media turns it into food fest, the muzzles were off and we heard the voice of the Einsteins in sync.

Mourinho’s United have been rampant this season

Where has a draw away at Anfield triggered the apocalypse and the rise of the four horsemen? That`s what the British media chose as the acceptable perception. Mourinho said Jurgen klopp didn`t present him an opportunity to win the game, to some those were words of the deranged but to those with knowledge of football and tactics it was as Jose said.

Chessesque, the first move triggers a butterfly effect which leads to a checkmate. That was how the game at Anfield was. Onus was on the home side to win, a new stand, behind in the table, but Klopp avoided that move by refusing a more attack minded system when it was clear the game was heading for a draw unlike what Guardiola did against Chelsea at the bridge.

No manager walks into the season with a mind state of getting 114pts, the white board in Jose’s office holds the answer to his approach to games this season. Mandatory wins in green, 50-50 games in blue, swing games in red, the Liverpool game was a blue one. To make a villain of him for that, is equivalent to calling him a tactless manager.

A tactless manager is one who sets out the same way and does not adapt to his opponent strength and weakness, a point stated by Jupp Heynckes in his unveiling last week. The real enemy of football is one who tells a tale of a mythical team that sets out the same way in every game without the opponent in mind.

Any manager lending an ear to it ends up losing high stake games, recall Steven Gerrard’s impression of Brendan Rodgers’ team talk before the game at Stamford bridge in 2014, also do recall the 1991 UCL final between the Red Star Belgrade and Marseille. Ljukpo Petrovic the Red Star manager proved to be the ultimate pragmatist with his approach to that final. He blunted his attack to favour penalties, since the Yugoslav league used penalty kicks to settle a drawn game, it was a comfort zone for his players. That was the ace up his sleeve, that approach/tactic won him the UCL.

Jose is a pragmatist, history has vindicated his approach and his beliefs, he was hired based on it, why should he throw a monkey wrench into a philosophy that works?

Egbim Ezez (@Steinzen) lives in Lagos, Nigeria

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