The Portuguese had faced several crunch defeats in his career as a tactician.
The success of Jose Mourinho in European football needs no introduction; neither does his supreme tactical acumen. Unconventional, pragmatic and a fierce competitor, these characteristics of his are well-renowned and revered in the footballing circles. Still, like every individual who has undergone multiple bouts of victories, there are certain blots in his managerial career that are simply too humongous to wash off.
He has suffered some terrible defeats, tactical embarrassments which would continue to bother the man regardless of the further titles that he notches hereon. Moreover, these are the days that continue to drive a professional in his career, motivating them to attain more remarkable feats. Thus, here we look at some of the most degrading defeats that Jose Mourinho has suffered in his nearly two-decade long run in this profession.
5. Catania 3-1 Inter Milan
One might argue that Jose Mourinho has undergone losses resulting in greater ramifications as this one. However, only a football manager could understand the impact that a defeat from the hands of a mid-table club could create towards the end of the season. Such matches have the ability to undo the whole lot of immense work that the team must have done throughout the course of the campaign.
Inter Milan eventually won the treble that season under Mourinho’s tutelage, but they were running a close race with AS Roma and AC Milan until then. Catania were relentless that day, and Inter were brought down to ten men on the field as midfielder Sulley Muntari was sent off in the 81st minute.
Muntari’s instinctive rage was detrimental to Inter that day as he handed Catania a spot-kick by deliberately handling the ball and earned a second yellow-card within a quick span of time. Inter had to face Chelsea in the second leg of the Round of 16 away from home merely a few days after this game, and they only had a meek 2-1 advantage from the first round.
Naturally, the tensions were high and one would assume what could possibly worsen this situation? Well, Jose Mourinho watched this crushing defeat against Catania from the stands as he had been given a three-match touchline ban due to his notorious ‘handcuffs’ gesture in the match against Sampodria.
4. Manchester United 1-2 Sevilla
The 2017-18 season was arguably the best one that Manchester United encountered following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. However, an embarrassing defeat and subsequent ouster in that campaign’s Champions League has erred all the good done by the side back then.
The Red Devils were the favorites to triumph over Sevilla in the Round of 16. Both the teams played out a goalless draw in the first leg of the encounter but what followed in the second leg was really the final nail in the coffin for United.
Ben Yedder’s brace in the final quarter of the game meant that Mourinho’s men were knocked out of the continental championship in front of a jam-packed Old Trafford crowd after a rather uninspiring display of football for ninety minutes. Jose Mourinho piled it up with the infamous ‘football heritage’ press conference soon after, and gradually unlocked the gate for his departure from the club.
3. Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Real Madrid
This defeat was particularly striking for someone whose teams are renowned for their solid, sturdy defensive setups. The Los Blancos were facing Jurgen Klopp’s heavy-metal playing Borussia Dortmund, who oozed style and some rapid pace on the field.
Moreover, Klopp possessed a relatively young and formidable striker in Robert Lewandowski. The Polish forward’s performance was peerless in that match, wherein Lewandowski netted each of the four goals scored by Dortmund. The impact of this victory was so hard-hitting that a comeback was never actually on the cards.
Klopp played in smart in the second leg, maintained some rigidity in the backline and disallowed that famed Madrid unit to surpass them in the aggregate. For the mighty Real Madrid, for the all-conquering Jose Mourinho to be shown such ignominy from a still up and coming Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund team was a signature that things weren’t going the way the Portuguese wanted it to.
Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be the last campaign that the Portuguese boss was at the helm for at Santiago Bernabeu.
2. Tottenham Hotspur 5-3 Chelsea
The former Chelsea boss led the Blues to the Premier League title that season. However, Jose Mourinho didn’t acclaim that feat without a dose of distress from the hands of Tottenham Hotspur, the unlikeliest of opponents to inflict such defeat to the West Londoners.
Chelsea were battling a close battle midway through the season to attain the top spot in the league table along with Manchester City. Harry Kane notched a brace, whereas Danny Rose and Nacer Chadli managed to put the ball into the back of the net too.
Eden Hazard, John Terry and Diego Costa tried their best to draw scores level late into the game. Yet, Spurs led by a relentless Harry Kane had accumulated a sizable number of goals to ward of any later pursuits from Mourinho’s players.
Though Chelsea bagged the league with an eight-point difference between them and the second-placed Manchester City, this loss had cast some doubts and tightened them up for further endeavors in the season.
1. Real Madrid 0-5 FC Barcelona
Rivalries do not get bigger than the El Classico, and anyone is bound to battle some jitters ahead of being in-charge of their first one. Consequently, Jose Mourinho was completely outclassed and outwitted in the very first match that he managed for Real Madrid against FC Barcelona.
It was humiliation at its very worst, compounded by a moment of absolute madness by Sergio Ramos wherein the defender struck Carles Puyol on the latter’s face. Jose Mourinho had outsmarted Pep Guardiola with his Inter Milan setup merely a season ago in the semifinals, and he went in with a similar plan in place for this match too.
However, the Catalan boss had learnt his lesson from the past and hence remodeled his tactics, handing Lionel Messi a freer role through the centre. The Argentine maestro didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he scripted the entire victory for Barcelona and pierced through Madrid’s midfield and defensive lines.
Goals from the likes of Xavi, Pedro and David Villa ensured that Barcelona managed to dominate the gameplay, whereas the foul mood amongst the players only aggravated as the game progressed. The former FC Porto manager did win the La Liga in the next season with Real Madrid., with a record tally of goals scored. Yet, the start of his journey in Spanish football was quite sour to be honest.