Can Mourinho learn from his mistakes?
New Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho says he will not make the same mistakes at Spurs but can a leopard really change its spots?
The 56-year-old is now in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hot seat after Mauricio Pochettino’s five-year reign came to an end earlier this week and opinion has been divided on whether it is a good appointment.
While many pundits are trotting out the old lines that the Portuguese tactician is a “winner” and has “won trophies everywhere he goes” there have been many negatives to his recent tenures.
It all came to a head at Manchester United when a toxic atmosphere fuelled by a very public fall-out with Paul Pogba and others signalled the end of his time at Old Trafford.
Having been a manager who defended his players at previous clubs, his criticism of Luke Shaw and others seemed to signal that it was not a harmonious relationship and one that had to come to the inevitable conclusion.
Mourinho did not mention any specifics in Thursday’s press conference but suggested he knows what went wrong at the Theatre of Dreams and will aim to put it right.
“I realised I made mistakes and I’m not going to make the same mistakes,” he told reporters. “I’ll make new mistakes – but not the same.”
Chelsea seemed to be his spiritual home but he managed to alienate himself from his players a second time around, enough to be sacked at Stamford Bridge just months after lifting the Premier League trophy.
There were also problems at Real Madrid and Inter Milan and despite his words that he likes the Spurs squad and the club, how long will it be before cracks appear?
It will all be down to results, and a losing sequence is likely to see the real Mourinho appear, as he added: “When I don’t win I cannot be happy and I cannot change that. That is my DNA.”
With other younger, talented managers round, it is a gamble by Daniel Levy to go for a man who seems incapable of toeing the party line.
Saying that he expects to make new mistakes will not exactly enthuse the Spurs’ faithful, who have endured a trophy-less run since claiming the EFL Cup in 2008.
Success, if it comes, will not be instant, but one thing that is guaranteed is that Mourinho with a sullen face and giving short answers will be seen at press conferences before the season is out.
Neil Foster is an experienced journalist who specialises in cricket and rugby union. Neil also has a solid knowledge of tennis, golf and football.