There is very little doubt that Jose Mourinho is one of the greatest managers in the world right now. His record and the amount of trophies he has won speaks volumes, but it is his speaking of another kind that help to make him stand out against the rest.
Becoming a great manager is more than just being tactically astute, knowing how to spot potential and getting the best out of your players on both the training field and on match days. Great managers have an ability to deflect pressure in big matches to give their players that extra confidence whilst denting that of their opponents.
All the great managers down the years will have used mind games against their opponents in order to either increase the pressure on their opponent’s team or to decrease the amount of pressure on their own team.
Brian Clough was great at it, Sir Alex Ferguson was great at it, but Mourinho really has to be classed as the master in this respect.
His mind games are so good in fact that if he ever decided a change of career, poker could be the perfect alternative for him. Poker is a game that is all about reading your opponents and playing mind games regarding the cards that you might or might not have, forcing your opponents into making big decisions in tight spots.
Let’s take a look at two some of Mourinho’s Most Famous Mind Games This Season:
Pellegrini Needs a Calculator
This could have been a major factor behind our league win at the Etihad Stadium this season. Chelsea became the first team to win at the Etihad stadium this season and city did not even turn up. Prior to the match, Mourinho said that Manuel Pellegrini needed a calculated after the Chilean said that Chelsea were not a little horse, but a rich one.
“Pellegrini was talking about the money we’ve spent. Outside his football career, he’s an engineer by academic formation.
“I don’t think an engineer needs a calculator to do Mata £37 million and De Bruyne £18m. So that’s £55m (Chelsea January sales). Matic is £21m and Salah is £11m. That’s £32m (Chelsea January buys). 55 minus 32 is 23. So Chelsea, in this transfer window, generated £23m.
“We don’t need a calculator for this. It’s easy. Plus 23.”
Mourinho and His Little Horse
Probably the most famous of his quotes this season and potentially his most ambitious mind game of all was trying to suggest that Chelsea were not in the hunt to be premiership champions this year. This came about when he said “The title race is between two horses and a little horse that needs milk and needs to learn how to jump. Maybe next season we can race.”
Wenger is A Specialist of Failure
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Mourinho have been locking horns for many years but since the latter returned to the Premiership they have taken a rather more personal route. Wenger initially claimed that Mourinho “feared failure” before Mourinho retorted in another interview prior to a match that Wenger was a “specialist of failure” after not winning a trophy in eight years.
Has it worked? Oh yes, it did. The 6-0 thrashing on Saturday will long be in our memories.
This was despite his team being at the top of the league with both Arsenal and Manchester City behind them.
We all know that these are mind games but it seems that this season certainly that they are paying dividends for his team. Whether Chelsea do in fact end the season as champions, it will in some way be down to the excellent mind games that Mourinho has played against his formidable opponents.