The Mourinho Effect: Looking at the Special One’s Impact at Clubs After He’s Appointed

No, you’re not dreaming – Mauricio Pochettino really has been sacked by Tottenham and Jose Mourinho really has been appointed as Spurs’ new head coach.

The news has, quite frankly, taken everybody in the football world by surprise. Just six months ago, Tottenham were on the cusp of Champions League glory after a truly memorable fightback against Ajax in the semi finals.

Now, Pochettino has been dismissed by chairman Daniel Levy after a fairly dreary start to the 2019/20 season – but more shockingly than that, he’s been replaced less than 12 hours after his departure was announced by the biggest name in football management – Jose Mourinho.


Yes, the ‘Special One’ is back in the dugout 11 months after he was binned by Manchester United in favour of, erm, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – having kept himself in the British limelight by becoming a regular pundit for Sky Sports among others.

He’s back where he belongs now, but shockingly it’s over in north London with Tottenham, a team Mourinho claimed in 2015 that he ‘could never manage’. Well, he is managing them – and he’s got one hell of a job to do in order to get the club’s fans on side, as well as reviving their ailing Premier League fortunes.

So what can Tottenham expect? Is Mourinho going to turn things around? Well, we’ve had a dig through the archives and had a little nosey at how the Portuguese wonderman has got on in the early days of some of his biggest jobs to date…


Porto

Jose Mourinho

Mourinho honed much of his managerial craft working alongside Sir Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal at Barcelona before venturing out on his own to become a number one. 

Short spells with Benfica and Uniao de Leiria kickstarted his career but it was Porto where he was given his first proper gig, replacing Octavio Machado in January 2002. When Mourinho took over, he vowed he would be ‘making Porto champions next year’.

He lifted Porto to third in the Primeira Liga by the end of his first half season in charge, winning 12 of his 19 games at a win ratio of 63.2%. From then on, he became special.

His first full season in charge resulted in a domestic and European treble, as Porto lifted the Primeira Liga title, UEFA Cup and Taca de Portugal. The Dragons won 41 of their 53 games that season, scoring 118 times and losing on just five occasions.

We all know what they did in the ?Champions League the following year…


Chelsea

Chelsea players Petr Cech (L) John Terry

After conquering Europe and retaining the Primeira Liga title, Mourinho rocked up at Chelsea and first proclaimed that he was the ‘Special One’.

Most doubted the credentials of the arrogant, egotistical Mourinho, despite his previous successes. He would prove every one of his doubters wrong in his maiden season in England, leading Chelsea to their first Premier League title.

His side won 42 of their 59 games in all competitions, a win percentage of 71.2%, and scored 108 goals in all competitions as they also went on to lift the League Cup.

A second Premier League title followed, with FA Cup and League Cup success added to his honours board further down the line.


Inter

Inter Milan's Portuguese coach Jose Mour

After sensationally departing Chelsea in September 2007, Mourinho took some time out of the game before heading for ?Inter.

Wanting to show just how special he is, Mourinho took his first press conference in the fashion capital in the world in Italian – claiming he’d learnt the language ‘in three weeks’. He would, naturally, win Serie A in his debut season, though he wasn’t as successful on the European stage.

In fact, his winning percentage of 58.8% in that first season ranks as one of the worst seasons in Mourinho’s near 20-year managerial career – but he was more than good enough to see off the competition of Juventus and AC Milan domestically, winning the title by ten points.

He really came into his own the following season, leading I Nerazzurri to a historic Serie A, Champions League and Coppa Italia treble before landing the biggest job in the world.


Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Portuguese coach Jose Mour

Mourinho’s success at Inter would lead to an approach from ?Real Madrid, an opportunity that he couldn’t refuse.

Tasked with toppling Barcelona, Mourinho splashed the cash on Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil among others in attempt to become top dog in Spain. Ordinarily, his debut season points haul of 92 points would have been enough to walk the league title – but on this occasion, Barça were too good and clung on to their La Liga crown by four points.

The sole success that Mourinho had that season came in the Copa del Rey, though he did finish that debut season with a win percentage of 74.6% across the board – the highest in his career (in an opening campaign) to date.

Real would clinch ?La Liga in his second season in charge, scoring 174 goals in all competitions en-route to winning 46 out of their 58 games played, a staggering 79.3% win ratio.


Return to Chelsea

Pre-Season Friendly - "Vitesse Arnhem v Chelsea"

Mourinho’s third season in Madrid was one of the most disappointing of his career, leading to a departure from the club by ‘mutual consent’.

He was then reappointed Chelsea manager on a four-year deal, promising upon his arrival that he would deliver the same things that he had promised in 2004. Ultimately, competition that season would prove to be too fierce for Mourinho, and the Blues would finish the season in third place on 82 points.

He did, however, lay the foundations for success the following campaign as Chelsea reclaimed their Premier League crown, as well as lifting the League Cup. Mourinho achieved a win percentage of 66.7% that season, leading Chelsea to glory in 36 of their 54 games played. Crucially, they only lost four times.


Manchester United

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Title success at Stamford Bridge was followed by an utterly dreadful 2015/16 campaign, which led to Mourinho being sacked by the club after losing 11 of their 25 games played.

?Manchester United would then take the Mourinho leap of faith at the beginning of the 2016/17 season as he replaced former running mate Louis van Gaal in the Old Trafford dugout. 

Mourinho’s usual domestic success would for once abandon him, finishing a distant sixth in the Premier League on 69 points. He did, however, lead the Red Devils to Europa League and League Cup glory, earning a place in the following season’s Champions League.

A second place finish during 2017/18, some 19 points behind runaway title winners Manchester City, followed before Mourinho was shown the door in his third season – his fifth departure from a club after that period of time – after a breakdown in relations at the club.


Tottenham

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Mourinho will now take charge of a Tottenham side who lie 14th in the Premier League, having picked up just 14 points from their opening 12 games in charge.

The Lilywhites have also been humbled 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League so far this season, as well as being dispatched by Colchester of League Two in the Carabao Cup.

That shows the kind of job Mourinho has on his hands – but if his track record is anything to go by, success may finally be just around the corner for Tottenham.

After all, he’s won a trophy everywhere he has been…

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Milan Škriniar’s Agent Claims Real Madrid Are ‘Closer’ Than Barcelona to Landing Defender

Milan Škriniar’s agent has claimed the Inter defender is closer to reaching an agreement to join Real Madrid rather than arch rivals Barcelona.

The 24-year-old has established himself as one of the finest centre-backs in Serie A and, as a result, he has long been of major interest to numerous European giants. Featuring 16 times in all competitions so far this season, he has been a fixture in Antonio Conte’s side.

Milan Skriniar

While several scouts from across Europe have been tracking Škriniar for a while now, ?it has recently been reported that Barcelona and Real Madrid are considering a move for the Slovakia international in January, when the transfer window opens. 

Škriniar’s agent Mithat Halis, a partner at Star & Friends, the company that represents the player, has now placed a hefty price tag on the Inter man while he also claimed that Los Blancos are currently leading the race to sign him.


“Škriniar is worth €100m. Real Madrid and ?Barcelona have been competing for his signature for the last two years,” he revealed, ?as quoted by AS.

“Now Real Madrid are closer to reaching an agreement with Inter Milan because they want – and need – him much more than Barcelona.

“?Real Madrid have to look for alternatives to their centre-backs, Ramos and Varane.” AS report that the agent went on to reveal that he can ‘see the defender going to Madrid’.

Sergio Ramos,Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane’s men have made a strong start to the 2019/20 La Liga campaign, currently sat second in the table behind Barça, who have a marginally better goal difference. Sergio Ramos and Raphaël Varane have been Real’s first-choice centre-back partnership this season, but they may look to bolster in this department, with the former now reaching the twilight years of his career.

Škriniar only signed a new contract with ?Inter back in May, committing his future to the club until the summer of 2023, but this clearly hasn’t stopped clubs from showing an interest in the player. 

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Marcelo Brozovic Is Finally Starting To Prove Himself as One of Serie A’s Best

?When talking about Inter in recent years, it’s always been about Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic.  Similarly, with Croatia, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic have been the names on everybody’s lips.

There’s one man who’s snuck under the radar massively after overcoming an initial tough spell in Italy, he’s a player who’s work allows the stars to flourish while never seemingly being seen as a star himself.

Marcelo Brozovic is a player that rarely gets put in the limelight, not to any fault of his own, there are simply just ‘bigger’, more marketable stars in the teams he’s played in.

Luka Modric,Marcelo Brozovic

But now, the 27-year-old – who recently helped the Vatreni to Euro 2020 – is finally getting the recognition he deserves under Antonio Conte.

Initially, the Croat mightily struggled at Inter after arriving from Dinamo Zagreb permanently in the summer of 2016. Inconsistent and sloppy showings, as well as an unjustified arrogance, meant that Brozovic wasn’t exactly a fan-favourite among the Nerazzurri faithful in his first few months at the club. 

His inconsistency on the pitch and petulance off it nearly led to his sale to Sevilla in January 2018, but the boss at the time, Luciano Spalletti, blocked the move as they weren’t able to find a replacement.

Marcelo Brozovic,Luciano Spalletti

That was seemingly the turning-point in Brozovic’s career far, and after finishing the 2017/18 campaign with four goals and nine assists (a career-high), that summer, he would go on to play an underrated role in Croatia’s World Cup campaign that saw them reach the final – Brozovic starting and finishing both the semi-final and final.

Then, under Spalletti in the 2018/19 season, ‘Brozo’ starred in I Nerazzurri’s midfield – outshining the likes of Matias Vecino, Roberto Gagliardini and Borja Valero – as his tireless running, ball-winning abilities, competent ball distribution and determination to make runs into the penalty area started to push the former Dinamo Zagreb man into the good books of the home faithful.

But, despite Brozovic being a constant in Inter’s starting XI and finishing that season with a 90% pass completion in Serie A, – all while averaging four tackles a game – Icardi’s tame 17-goal season was credited for spearheading I Nerazzurri to the Champions League for the second season running. The workhorse in the middle of the park was merely another spoke in Spalletti’s dysfunctional wheel.

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With the club seemingly at a standstill after not improving on their previous campaign, Inter announced Spalletti’s departure in May 2018 with former Juve boss Antonio Conte the man to fill the void. 

With Conte at the helm, Inter have been taken to another level and while the performances of Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku up top and the stoutness of Diego Godin, Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij at the back have been important, Conte’s midfield three have been nothing short of outstanding.

The dynamic Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi joined Inter from Cagliari and Sassuolo respectively in the summer and both have thrived alongside Brozovic, who’s operated as the ‘regista’ in the centre. 

And despite Sensi and Barella’s ball-playing abilities, it’s the Croatian who’s proved to be the key in Inter’s build-up play under their new manager.

Stefano Sensi

Initially, when the ball is with one of Inter’s centre-halves, Brozovic looks to receive in a position just behind the first line of the opponent (usually the striker). When he receives, his calmness in possession and press-resistance enables him to turn away from pressure and play clever passes round the corner into his midfield partners, who are usually positioned higher up the pitch. 

Brozovic essentially becomes key in allowing Inter to progress the ball vertically through opposition lines. His ability to play straight, line-breaking passes then opens up space for Antonio Candreva or Kwadwo Asamoah at wing-back. Conte-ball.

So far this season, Brozovic has registered two goals and two assists in all competitions and despite a smaller sample size, he averages a higher pass completion (90.7%), more passes per 90 (74.2) and more long balls per 90 (7.4) than any prior season in Serie A. He’s the man that keeps this impressive Inter side ticking.


And while some of his defensive numbers in some metrics are down, particularly the tackles per 90 (from 5.0 to 2.8), Brozovic has proved to be more than capable at shielding Inter’s back three. 

Along with this, the 27-year-old holds great importance when Inter press high, whether it be providing cover for the pair beside him who enjoy pressing opposition midfielders deep in their own half, or man-marking an advanced opposition midfielder – the latter being demonstrated in I Nerazzuri’s visit to the Camp Nou, where Brozovic would often find himself man-marking Arthur or Frenkie de Jong.

Overall, Brozovic’s outings in some of Inter’s biggest games up to this point have seen the Croat gain greater recognition. His performances in the Champions League – most notably in both games against Dortmund, especially in the home game – have been consistently fantastic, while he was the best player on the park in the Derby della Madonnina.

Despite a quieter showing against Juventus, Brozovic has proved himself to be a player for the big occasion and will undoubtedly be pivotal in Inter’s title challenge this season and in the many to come.

Marcelo Brozovic

So, from a cocky nuisance who wasn’t even loved by his own fans, Marcelo Brozovic has gone under the radar to become one of I Nerazzurri’s most prized possessions.

Playing as the ‘regista’ under Conte in a much-improved Inter side has taken the Croatian to the next level and there simply aren’t many better midfielders in Europe than Inter’s number 77 right now.

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Transfer Rumours: Barça & Man City for Sensi, Celtic Eye Wanyama, Everyone Wants Joe Gelhardt

Some say that the real incident which caused Prince Andrew’s adrenalin overdose that rendered his sweat glands useless was actually reading 90min’s transfer rumours…

They are that exciting.

Here’s today’s goss…


Man Utd & Arsenal Go ‘Giant’ Hunting

Both ?Man Utd and ?Arsenal are keeping tabs on ‘giant’ Brad Young, an adjective used to describe the 17-year-old Hartlepool keeper in both the title and opening sentence of ?The Sun’s exclusive.

By the point in the article (second para) you get to Young’s actual height of 6ft 4in, it comes as something of a disappointment. Ok, that is tall… but I was twice promised giant

Anyway, other than the fact that National League Hartlepool want a ‘decent fee’ for their teenage monster, details are scant in The Sun’s piece.

Did anyone mention that it’s the international break?


Aston Villa Also Want a Large Teenager

Ben Chapman,Jarrad Branthwaite

Speaking of large lower-league 17-year-olds… ?Aston Villa are being linked with Carlisle United centre back Jarrad Branthwaite by ?Football Insider.

According to their report, Branthwaite (also 6ft 4in, apparently) has ‘caught the eye of scouts at multiple clubs’ with his displays in League Two, while Aston Villa are ‘weighing up’ a January offer.

A product of Carlisle’s academy, Branthwaite has made nine first-team appearances this season, despite essentially still being a child.

He signed a two-year contract back in February, while 90min’s resident Carlisle fan ?Chris Deeley describes him as ‘already the defender I’m least worried about in our team.’

High praise indeed.


Wanted Wigan Starlet Playing Gelhardt to Get

Wigan Athletic v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship

What’s that? You want more links to 17-year-olds you’ve not heard of…? Well, I did have this thing on Lionel Messi handing in a transfer request but ok…

?Chelsea?Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton are all monitoring the development of Wigan Athletic’s Joe Gelhardt, according to the ?Daily Star.

Now, I don’t have any information about his height sadly but what the article does tell us is that Gelhardt is a striker, he is English and he has made seven Championship appearances for Wigan in 2019/20, scoring once. 

He is also the England Under-18 captain and looks to have the potential to be a star of the future.

The Star say the forward is valued at around £5m, while the Latics – such is the relative health of their bank balance – have no obligation to sell mid-season.

The Liverpool-born forward was ?supposedly rejected by the Reds and Everton ‘three or four times‘ before joining Wigan aged 10.


Celtic Want Big Vic Back

Victor Wanyama

North of the wall, Celtic are on the hunt for a new midfielder to ‘lighten the load’ on Scott Brown and Callum McGregor, according to ?Football Insider, and they’ve got a certain ?Tottenham man in mind.

Victor Wanyama, who spent three years at Celtic, is on the wish list for Neil Lennon’s side and could be targetted in a loan deal with the player’s Spurs chances few and far between.

The 28-year-old Kenyan midfielder has played just 24 Premier League minutes of Tottenham’s dumpster fire of the season so far and is unlikely to be missed if the club sanction an exit.

However, the inconvenient sticking point for Celtic is money. Football Insider’s report says the Scottish champs will only be able to afford a loan if Wanyama’s wages are shared.


Deulofeu’s Milan Heart Break

Gerard Deulofeu

Gerard Deulofeu would return to ?AC Milan in a ‘heartbeat’, say ?Calciomercato.

The 25-year-old Watford winger has a thing for returning to old clubs and apparently Milan is next on his hit list after doing encores at Barcelona and Everton.

Deulofeu had half a season on loan at San Siro in 2016/17 but has been hankering for a move back ever since, according to Calciomercato’s Fabrizio Romano.

The problem is that Watford want €40m (£34m, yes really) for the Catalan star, who they see as an important player in their battle to avoid relegation.

While Milan ‘appreciate’ Deulofeu, the report claims the transfer is ‘beyond the boy’s desire’.


Inter Hope to Jump Queue for Kulusevski 

Dejan Kulusevski

While Milan may not be doing any business, their San Siro-sharing rivals just might. ?Inter want to get the jump on other suitors for Atalanta midfielder Dejan Kulusevski, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport (as cited by ?Football Italia).

19-year-old Sweden Under-21 star Kulusevski has been one of the revelations of Serie A this season, providing five assists in 12 appearances for loan club Parma.

The report says his price tag is already €40m (still £34m) but that could increase as the player continues to impress.

Inter want to start negotiations now apparently but face competition from Juventus, Roma, Milan as well as Man Utd and Arsenal (?read more about their interest here).

Btw, if you’re thinking Kulusevski doesn’t sound very traditionally Swedish, it’s because his parents are of North Macedonian descent. So, there you go.


Sensi-ing Interest

Stefano Sensi

Could it be one in, one out at Inter? Probably not but go with me here…

Stefano Sensi, tearing it up for Antonio Conte’s side this season after joining on a loan-to-buy arrangement from Sassuolo, has been linked with ?Barcelona recently – something which the player’s agent hasn’t really played down. Not like an agent that… odd.

The 24-year-old Italy international, who has three goals and two assists from seven Serie A outings in 2019/20, was named as a Barcelona target in the speculation swirl last month – with Ivan Rakitic or Arturo Vidal (Barça’s equivalent of loose change lying around) touted as makeweights in any deal.

Now Sensi’s agent Beppe Riso revealed to ?Calciomercato that both Barça and Manchester City had been interested in the summer prior to the Inter move.

He teased: “Sensi is no surprise. Antonio Conte looked for him, wanted him, they [Inter] were good at getting him first. There was interest from Barcelona and City already this summer, it’s normal.” 

5ft 6in (we started with height so we’ll finish with it) Sensi, who has been compared to Marco Verratti, cites Xavi as his footballing idol.


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Italy 9-1 Armenia: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Azzurri End Qualification With Demolition Job

Italy ended their Euro 2020 qualification campaign in style as they thumped Armenia 9-1 to finish with a 100% winning record.

The Azzurri started the game in scintillating fashion, essentially wrapping up the game inside the first ten minutes thanks to goals from Ciro Immobile and Nicolo Zaniolo.

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Italy made it 3-0 midway through the first half when Nicolo Barella poked home after a super ball from Leonardo Bonucci. Incredibly, the rout continued four minutes later after Immobile rounded the keeper and tapped the ball into an empty net for his second of the day and tenth of his international career.

The Armenians were able to hold their opponents off for the first 20 minutes of the second half, but their resistance ended when Zaniolo scored his second with a fabulous strike from the edge of the box with his left foot. 

Unfortunately for Armenia the onslaught was nowhere near done, with defender Alessio Romagnoli stabbing home from a corner, before Jorginho and substitute Riccardo Orsolini got their names on the scoresheet to make it eight. 

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Armenia did get one back after Jorginho’s mistake but that proved to be momentary respite as Federico Chiesa made it nine a minute later with his first goal for the national side.

Here’s 90min’s breakdown of the game.


ITALY

Key Talking Point

After breaking an 80-year national record with their tenth consecutive win, which came against Bosnia and Herzegovina a few days ago, Italy could have dropped their guard a touch -especially with Roberto Mancini making wholesale changes from the last game. However, that wasn’t to be, and the Azzurri put in another fantastic display as they humiliated Armenia.

Nicolò Zaniolo

Winning Euro 2020 next summer may be a step too far for Italy, but they are definitely on an upward trajectory and must continue to show improvement so they are able to go deep into the competition and make the world realise that they are well and truly back.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Sirigu (6); Di Lorenzo (7), Bonucci (7), Romagnoli (8), Biraghi (6); Tonali (7), Jorginho (7), Barella (8); Zaniolo (9*), Immobile (8), Chiesa (8).

Substitutes: Orsolini (7), Izzo (6), Meret (6).


STAR PLAYER 

Zaniolo is a stunning talent, and proved that with a magnificent display tonight. The midfield maestro was at the heart of everything and showcased his stunning technical ability with a number of brilliant passes. His two goals in the game was the perfect reward for a supreme performance, and he will hope that this has persuaded his manager to put him in the starting XI for Euro 2020.






ARMENIA

?Player Ratings

Starting XI: Airapetyan (4); Hambartsumyan (4), Haroyan (3), Calisir (2), Ishkhanyan (4), Hovhannisyan (4); Babayan (6), Grigoryan (5), Edigaryan (4), Barseghyan (4); Karapetyan (5).

Substitutes: Simonyan (5), Sarkisov (6), Avetisyan (5)


Looking Ahead

With qualification now over, Italy will look to re-group and focus on bigger and better things heading into Euro 2020. Armenia, meanwhile, will lick their wounds after a desperately disappointing defeat and will reflect on a qualifying campaign that saw them finish fifth in the group.

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