Dr. Jose Mourinho: The Football World’s Psychologist

Dr. Jose Mourinho: The Football World’s Psychologist
Sep 9, 2016

Featured Manchester United

There’s no doubt that Jose Mourinho is one of the best managers in the world, and some will argue that he is, in fact, the best. As of writing, the Portuguese manager has won 21 trophies in 4 different leagues so far in his imposing managerial career. But what’s the secret behind te United boss’ success?

There are many different options to choose from, is it his intelligence? or maybe his arrogance? Passion? Of course. But many other managers that are well known also possess these qualities. As this is the case, what makes Jose so unique in comparison?

Mourinho is not just a manager, he’s also a full-time psychologist. The Manchester United manager has proven time and time again that he has the ability to use the science of the mind to lead his players to victory and manipulate his rivals to doom. Most famously known as branding one of his fiercest rivals as a ‘specialist in failure’, Mourinho know’s what it takes to become a successful manager. Just like Andrea Pirlo once said: “Football is played with your head, your feet are just your tools.”

Let’s take a look at some of the psychological qualities that Mourinho has strived with…

The Mind Game Master:
Although overused to an extent, the mind game tactic has always been one of the Portuguese’s most used weapons. Many teams were victims of Jose’s notorious strategy, including Liverpool who let their first ever Premier League title slip during their clash with Mourinho’s Chelsea which led to a 2-0 defeat for the Reds in 2014.

By talking before the game about the weakness of the side that he’ll field due to a variety of tough fixtures whilst insisting how Liverpool will be the favourites, his speech actually boosted Liverpool’s confidence and turned the media’s attention to Rodgers’ squad. This brilliance then switched the threatening pressure that was placed on to the Blues onto the title favourite Liverpool side. The former Chelsea boss then revealed at the end of the season that he prepared his squad by demanding them to prove that they’re not clowns as everyone thinks they are.

Mourinho’s mind game movements kicked off early this season, with the Portuguese stating that new signing Paul Pogba would play only ‘a few minutes’ on his debut, but the midfielder ended up playing a whole 90 minutes (against Southampton).  Southampton were clearing lost for words as they too were fooled by Mourinho’s brilliance, as Pogba had a convincing debut against the Saints.

The Provocative mind:

Another strategy Mourinho uses consists of mentioning his rivals whenever he’s attacked by the press. After a game verses Arsenal, He was criticized for playing boring football, the manager replied with:”Boring is when you don’t win a mojor trophy for 10 years”. The current United boss was throwing shades at Wenger and turning the spotlight on the French.

Mourinho kept failing to show mercy to his colleagues even as a Man Utd manager. In his first conference as the Red Devils’ boss, Jose attacked Louis Van Gaal when his Youth involvement was questioned:

“Sometimes you promote players because you have so many injuries and other times when you are not playing for big targets, it is easier to bring them up. My record of injuries is very very low, even in many years. I never promote players because of a need, I did because of conviction.”

Arsenal’s boss wasn’t safe that day either with the 53-year-old aiming digs at Wenger, the manager has failed to claim the Premier League title for over a decade, when Jose Mourinho was asked about the title race, he simply said: “There are some managers, the last time they won a title was 10 years ago, the last time I won was a year ago. I will never be able to work without success… to finish 4th is not the aim.”

Leader:
Mourinho’s an amazing leader. He inspired a Porto side of 9 local players and 2 foreigns (Brazilians) to Champions League success and that’s an extremely hard task. At Inter, he led a team filled with players at the end of their careers to glory. The Portuguese was also the one who brought the winning mentality to Chelsea.

“Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European Champion and I think I’m a special one” – Mourinho in 2004.

Jose’s self belief is another reason why he’s a successful leader. It is essential that the team has enough faith in the manager’s ability in order to follow him and this will never occur if they see you have self-doubt.

Mourinho always puts his team first and would sacrifice anyone for it,as the Portuguese once said:
“I hate to speak about individuals. Players don’t win trophies, teams win trophies, squads win trophies”
There’s no better example than when Jose demoted Bastian Schweinsteiger to Manchester United’s second team, a player who’s  considered one of the German National team’s biggest legends. The team mission came first and Bastian didn’t reach Mourinho’s standards. Despite the criticism he got, the boss left the German out of his squad.

That’s what differentiates Mourinho from other managers like Wenger. The Portuguese creates winners from good players while Wenger is okay with his team celebrating a fourth place finish and a draw versus West Ham United.

Marco Materazzi declared earlier this month that “Mourinho can read players’ feelings, even the hidden ones, and get inside their minds.” sounds like something only the Portuguese would do.

Jose Mourinho: The man who took management to a whole new level.

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