Football’s most hated and berated, José Mourinho has somehow managed to stir up anger and frustration for well over a decade. This has largely resulted from a series of inflammatory actions and comments, alongside a tendency to act disrespectfully towards both his players and fellow managers. The British public especially it seems have regarded him as the undisputed anti-villain of world football. But is the Portugueses’ erratic, confusing behavior justified? Does he secretly laugh at the media for taking the bait after one his ear-catching quips? Is this is all simply the righteous indignation of the very uncommon man? Or is he just a big old meanie? The debate is endless – and its fun, so let’s delve.
The disdain for Mourinho sky-rocketed in England at around 10:00 pm on Wednesday night, just after his Manchester side had beaten Juventus in Turin by two goals to one. In a fit of pique, the manager held his hand to his ear as if to say “Ya what?” and produced a rather grotesque sneer – adding weight to his jeer. His justification, that the away fans were insulting his family. Almost immediately, Juventus players surrounded him, with Leonardo Bonucci leading the complaints. Very quickly Mourinho was rushed off the pitch, the wry smile on his face completely wiped.
In the words of Mike Skinner, “now let’s get to the nitty gritty.” From the broadsheets to the tabloids, it seems that anyone who’s anyone has had their pop at the United manager. There is a lingering feeling that for the media, every bad result seems to indicate the end of Mourinho’s reign, and every poor performance by a player indicates that he is a flop. There are huge problems in his United team and many of them; to an extent, it is only the media’s job to report on this. To me, however, this gives Mourinho every right to give it back a little. The tabloids seem to uphold a moral superiority in their criticism of the manager yet they are incapable of receiving the same treatment when Mourinho responds. In that sense, they always win. If the manager is seen to be unpleasant in whatever manner, articles are churned out suggesting that he should resign and that he’s a disgrace to the club; if Mourinho gives back chat, or celebrates somewhat uncouthly, he is arrogant and plebeian.
There is no right answer here, but José Mourinho is what he is. Let’s accept that and move on with our lives