In this edition of our Coach2 Stories there is a small portrait of the “Special One” Jose Mourinho.
„Know the Club and the Culture you get yourself into“
Mourinho began his career as head coach at FC Porto. “In the area you are born with a club and you die with that club. Still, it’s not always love. That was the situation when I arrived, ”says Mourinho in the documentary “Playbook”(available on Netflix). “People work hard in the north of Portugal. Fans give everything for their club when the team represents their values. ”On this basis, Mourinho signed many local players who had a connection to the club. The values of sacrifice and hard work exuded. A team without someone with a title.
This connection paid off. In two years Port did not lose a single home game (a streak that continued at Chelsea) and won a number of titles including the championship eye.
Learning for trainers: do we always know exactly what we are getting ourselves into? Do we start a new job, are we aware of the circumstances and processes within the association or the region? We are not always just football coaches who train a team. We also have expectations from fans, sponsors and many others. Knowing these can make a difference.
In the quarter-finals draw, Manchester United was considered the toughest lot, while Porto was considered an “easy lot”. Mourinho was aware of this and played one of his famous “mind games”. He boasted in all the newspapers and interviews that “we really want to play against Manchester”. It created an atmosphere in which everyone wanted to play United. “When the lot falls on United, we’ll be prepared. If the lot doesn’t come, all the better, then we’ll avoid the best team. ”In the end, it turned out as it had to: Porto drew the big favorites Manchester United. It was to be one of Mourinho’s first great triumphs. In the second leg at Old Trafford, Porto secured the victory late and finally moved into the final.
Learning for trainers: Preparation is half the battle, if not more. There are many situations that we, as football coaches, leave unused for us. Mourinho used a simple draw that most coaches would probably have watched with their team to improve his team. Which situations go “just like that” in your everyday trainer life and could you use it for yourself?
„For your Family you break the Rules”
Now it’s getting legendary. In the champions league against Bayern Munich, Mourinho was banned and was not allowed to join the team around the game. Ultimately, Mourinho decided to find a way to accompany the team. “If the result doesn’t look good or you need my help, I’ll be there,” was his last address to the team before the quarter-finals. What happened next is probably one of the best anecdotes of all time: At halftime, UEFA officials came towards the Chelsea dressing room. Without further ado, Mourinho jumped into a laundry box and was brought to safety halfway through the stadium by the kit manager. “I’m not proud of breaking the rules. But I’m proud as a friend of the players and I’m proud to have been there for my team. ”Even if he has been feeling“ a bit claustrophobic ”since then.
Learning for trainers: Of course we can now write: “Do everything for your team”. But that’s not really the point. What Mourinho represents here is absolute clarity. The clarity about who he is and what values he represents. For him, his players come first and therefore everything does not seem uncertain or unclear. This awareness of one’s own beliefs is the real message. Make it clear what you stand for and what should make you stand out!
„The cruelty of football“
Mourinho remembers his father, also a coach. “He had achieved something and received a lucrative offer from another club. Out of attachment he stayed. Less than 4 months later he was fired. ”In his third stop in European football, Mourinho won everything there was to be won with Inter Milan and ended a long lean period for the Italians. Before the final, Real Madrid asked him “with the greatest task in European football: to beat Barcelona in the Spanish league”. He decided to leave, “the train doesn’t stop a second time” and so he left the team at the moment of his triumph, his second and to this day last championship title, and flew to Madrid. He ended a coaching station his own way and not like the “nature and cruelty of football” by getting kicked out.
Learning for trainers: It is a topic that is seldom addressed directly – especially in youth and amateur football. But even there there is pressure or mechanisms that ensure that teams should be given up. Anyone who denies this denies reality. It’s not about us telling you “go!” Or “don’t go!” In situations like this. But it all goes back to why you started being a coach in the first place. If that still holds true, you’ll find a constant compass in difficult situations. Mourinho is someone who wants to compete and tackle tasks. His decision was no surprise, therefore.
„I don’t coach Football Players – I coach Football Teams”
2011 Copa del Rey final. Mourinho surprised and for the first time ever placed winger Ronaldo as “number 9”, with the pure focus on the offensive. “It’s my job to help the players, but they have to do it themselves. And every player needs the team to be successful, ”is how he briefly describes his philosophy. “Putting the pieces together is my job and not explaining to Ronaldo how to take a free kick.” With a header from Ronaldo, Real finally wins the game.
Learning for trainers: One of the most interesting points: Football is a sport that we don’t play alone. Players are always dependent on one another. This initial focus on the team underlines this fact and creates a different “we-feeling”. Every player who tries to get better will gradually find a way to successfully bring the individual players together (whatever that means) so that together they are more than the sum of their parts is your job.
But there’s something completely different in there: Mourinho doesn’t try to change the individual player either. He respects the talents of the players as such and does not start to force Ronaldo to do defensive work. That probably goes for you too. Do you take your players for who they are and encourage them to get better, or are you trying to squeeze them into something they are not?
„We will always be a Team”
“Trophies are for the history of football. The players I’ve met over the years and the solidarity are for us, “says Mourinho,” there are so many former players that I would call right away and help me right away, and vice versa. That is the human side of football and that remains. “
Learning for trainers: Interesting words from an outwardly very arrogant and unapproachable trainer.
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