Jose Mourinho has always been a divisive manager, and he’ll continue to be that until the moment that he retires. Whether it’s his man-management style, his tactics, his transfer ideology or, indeed, his persona with the press, some will love him, whilst others will hate him.
One thing that became clear at Man Utd was that there was a disconnect between him and the players. He seemed to have been stuck in his ways, whilst the young players at Old Trafford didn’t seem to respond to his methods.
Mourinho has been discussing the new generation of footballers with beIN Sports this week, and he thinks that there’s been a persona change with young players who are perhaps less willing to follow orders and work under a singular figure; with player power and a resistance to authority beginning to rise. You can see the full clip below.
"The manager is there to coach them. Not to keep discipline at any cost."
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) January 17, 2019
He hasn’t moved with the times, and now he’s been left behind.
Whilst Mourinho attempts to make a point of stating that this isn’t in relation to his time at Old Trafford, it seems pretty clear that it is, and that indicates that perhaps Mourinho was the wrong man from the very start.
Mourinho has always been a fairly traditional manager. He likes to be involved in everything at the club, and his authority isn’t something anyone tends to question. That worked 10 years ago with players like Frank Lampard and John Terry, as they were eager to improve and recognised the achievements that Mourinho had secured.
However, the modern footballer is different. Indeed, society as a whole is different, and that’s led to archaic methods like that being phased out. Players want the power because they are the ones that are putting in the work every single week, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It’s no surprise that managers like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp – who would rather put their arm around a player than scolding them for a mistake – are doing so well. Players need that support, otherwise they simply don’t respond well.
At Man Utd, Mourinho had to deal with players like Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard – two loud, bubbly personalities with bags of confidence – and that’s just not something that Mourinho was used to. For better or worse, the modern player isn’t born of the same ilk; and Mourinho didn’t adapt.
He clearly recognises that, as highlighted in the clip above, but he didn’t adjust – and that played a key role in his downfall. He hasn’t moved with the times, and now he’s been left behind.