/ 18 August 2015

José Mourinho, the ‘Special One’

José Mourinho, The 'special One'


José Mourinho set out his own style guide on his arrival at Chelsea in 2004. “Please don’t call me arrogant,” he said, “but I do not think I’m one of the bottle. I am a Special One.” Watch his facial expression throughout the interview and it’s clear Mourinho is an irony free zone. “Special one” comes not with a hint of a smile or hubris but as a statement of pure fact. A man who curates his own legend.

Over the years his press conferences have become a hot ticket as his musings are likely to be more memorable than the game itself. When a Spanish radio station asked Mourinho what God thought about him, he let rip: “He must really think I’m a great guy. He must think that, because otherwise He would not have given me so much. I have a great family. I work in a place where I’ve always dreamt of working. He has helped me out so much that He must have a very high opinion of me.”

Then there was this about the Chelsea Youth team players. “Young players are a little bit like melons. Only when you open and taste the melon are you 100% sure that the melon is good. Sometimes you have beautiful melons but they don’t taste very good and some other melons are a bit ugly and when you open them, the taste is fantastic … One thing is youth football, one thing is professional football. The bridge is a difficult one to cross and they have to play with us and train with us for us to taste the melon.”

It was eggs that Mourinho had more in mind when thinking of first team players; “Omelettes, eggs. No eggs, no omelettes. And it depends on the quality of the eggs in the supermarket. They are class one, two or three and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. When the class one eggs are not available you have a problem.”

Put Mourinho in front of a camera and he cannot resist the temptation either to be the gnomic comic who coins phrases like “ parking the bus” – or set off an elaborate smokescreen that nobody can ever be sure he really believes. For the most part, the performance is all. Mourinho could get away with saying almost anything when his team is doing well because he really is that Special. When the team are on a poor run, Mourinho’s specialness comes to be defined more as delusional wishful thinking.

The blame game
Two weeks ago Chelsea lost the charity shield to Arsenal; Mourinho’s first ever loss to Arsene Wenger. Having blamed Arsenal for leaving their football philosophy in the dressing room , Mourinho had this to say about a man he had been playing mind games on for years: “I never had a psychological edge. It’s not normal what happened before, and because it’s not normal I never paid attention to that.

“I always thought one game is one game and has no relation with other games. Thirteen matches is an eternity. It has never been a question of beating someone and losing to another one.”

Then came the run in with the physio Dr Eva Carneiro in the dying minutes of the 2-2 draw against Swansea in which the referee had waved her on to treat Eden Hazard. Mourinho now refuses to work with Carneiro. “Speak with me about football ”, Mourinho said when asked about it in his weekly press conference. “Speak about other issues and I am not here.” 

Sunday’s game against Manchester City was yet another sign the Special one was less special than his reflection indicated. “ It was a fake result” he said of the 3-0 scoreline that could just as easily have been 6-1. The rest of the country had seen his side comprehensively thrashed; Mourinho had only seen the narrowest and unluckiest of defeats. 

One of us needs a reality check.

– © Guardian News & Media 2015