The objective of a soccer match is not the goal. It is the win. You can win without scoring. You can score and not win.
As simple as this is. It could yet be complex. Mourinho raised a tricky point on Monday. He was talking to the press. If he had a choice, he’d skip it.
But in the EPL post and pre-match press conferences are as important as the match itself. So he was there answering questions by force.
What was this tricky point he raised? And is this the first time he is being mischievous at shying away from accepting the responsibility?
Mourinho reminds me of a line I read somewhere, “Clever band leaders are experienced enough to turn back and stare at the drummer
whenever they sing off key”.
So clever Mourinho asks the press guys. When I win my way, you guys complain it’s ugly football. When I play beautiful football, you guys complain I didn’t win. He told them to “make up your mind”.
And the press guys are not like me. Or anything near Oma Akatugba…
I would have replied him straight in a mix of Yoruba and English, ‘Egbon, we have made up our minds a long time ago. We appreciate you play good football and win. But if ugly football wins for you, why the heck should our thoughts bother you. Are we the ones paying your salary?’.
But seriously, what is the aim of beautiful football or ugly football if it doesn’t lead to a win?
If Ediale was a coach in this modern times. I would play in a certain way that will expose my defense.
My personal philosophy.
But I will never allow the ball get to my half of the pitch. I will master that act.
All I would have done is simply adjust to a new variance of the philosophy that says ‘there’s only one ball on the pitch, hold it, control it and keep it from the opponent’.
I should take Jose Mourinho’s job. If what he thinks what he played on Monday was beautiful football. Then it is time he go, join Arsene Wenger in that Island.
I like a particular answer one journalist gave to him when he said the journalists are not the judge. He said he has discovered (he sounded like it was a Eureka moment) that it was the fans that were the true judge. That they clapped cos they knew the guys gave a good show. And that wicked reporter told him, that some fans actually left before the end of the game (you know that classic, one-by-one, dem-don-dey-go thing).
Funny. But the comedy wasn’t done. José had one final punch line.
“Yes, if I stay very far and my team was losing, I’d do the same…”
I died laughing!
When Pep was beat Jose silly in Spain. He would always wisely praise the Barca players. A thing he did to take glory away from Pep.
Jamie Redknapp has described Jose Mourinho’s team selection for Monday night’s clash with Tottenham as “bizarre” and “strange”.
Mourinho named a three-man Manchester United defence that included central midfielder Ander Herrera, who thought United played really quite well in their 3-0 defeat.
“I think it’s always a tell-tale sign when managers come under severe pressure, or they are having a bad time, when they do strange things when they pick a team,” Redknapp told talkSPORT.
“Picking Ander Herrera in a back three – that, to me, is bizarre.
“He is not a centre-back and he hasn’t got tremendous height. He’s ok pace-wise, but you’re playing against one of the best centre-forwards in Harry Kane! As a back three they were all over the place.
“They are the sort of things that you do as a manager when you’re under pressure. You make strange decisions.
“Against Brighton, for me, it looked like the team weren’t playing for the manager.
“You can turn round and say, ‘let’s give him time, let’s give him until the end of his contract’, but you’re damaging a brand here.
“I just don’t see how he can turn this around. That’s not because I think Jose Mourinho is not a good manager, I just don’t think he’s the right manager for Manchester United.
“I don’t think his style fits, and he’s never looked happy there.”
Football seems to go through generational changes and sometimes the managers responsible for creating a shift in the game can get left behind as their once revolutionary ideas, tactics and philosophies become outdated, tired and irrelevant. By the time Arsene Wenger finally left Arsenal they were unrecognisable from the early 2000s, Wenger v Fergie, Vieira v Keane grudge matches, fierce battles and Pizzagate days. Wenger changed football, then it changed around him and left him behind.
Today it looks like this is happening to Mourinho and Benitez, once the hottest properties in European football circa 2004 as their tactics, outlooks and approaches changed football. They were part of an era when top level football was dogged, organised and unforgiving of defensive errors. Their sides simply didn’t concede goals and their philosophies were to control the game, either with the ball (Rafa’s Valencia, never forget how they dismantled Liverpool in the Mestalla) or without the ball if required (Mourinho’s Inter, with possession in a minus figure against Barcelona).
For Mourinho, his simple formula is beginning to look outdated. Spend more money than everyone else on some excellent experienced players – ideally hardworking, strong and tall – as you beat all the rubbish teams, avoid defeat to immediate rivals and win the title. Doesn’t work anymore as everybody has money and 15 years ago the top four was nailed on; most of the rubbish teams actually were rubbish. In 2018 even the bottom six sides play actual football and with a ‘big six’ replacing a top four, results at the top mean more than ever.
For Benitez; In 2018 he’s being painted as a negative coach who puts men behind the ball as if he’s Sam Allardyce. While he’s always been adept at organising a team for such a task when necessary, people forget he once dropped his holding midfielder for Harry Kewell to take on one of the finest footballing sides in generations for a Champions League Final. I still believe the first half in Istanbul burned Rafa and fundamentally changed him forever; he would never surprise with something so bold or ambitious again.
At times Rafa had Liverpool playing very good football so I’m sure he’d rather not set Newcastle up like he did on Sunday; I believe he’s doing what he’s doing at Newcastle because of the players at his disposal but the fact he’s there in the first place makes him outdated compared to the current top coaches – a modern coach with a ‘progressive philosophy’ wouldn’t have taken the job because they wouldn’t get the tools they’d desire. Newcastle are a club with zero ambition run by somebody who doesn’t give a stuff.
In 2018 I’d say three managers are rewriting the rules in different ways – Guardiola has chucked out the book titled ‘what you can and can’t do in football’ and written a new one. Mauricio Pochettino has done what supposedly can’t be done in modern football – create a consistent Champions League side with zero budget and Jurgen Klopp’s belief that football should actually be fun is still refreshing – he may be addressing some of his sides weaknesses in the pursuit of actually winning silverware but all three put attacking football front and centre in their ideals.
The way Pochettino lead his side to Old Trafford on Monday night reminded me of Mourinho himself running down the touchline as Porto dumped United out on that very ground 14 years ago. It feels like torches are being passed.