In part one of this three-part series we posited that the real Real Madrid will not emerge under coach Jose Mourinho because his coaching style has not allowed the players to pursue their true natures and develop into the offensive powerhouse they showcased in winning the 2011-12 La Liga. We argued that the reasons why the team will not emerge while Mou is at the helm are simple and three-fold: he does not know how to coach an offensive minded team, he is too self-absorbed to think in terms of what would work best for the team he does have, and his masters seem to forget that his laurels were well planted before he came along to cultivate them. We discussed his one-game/defensive coaching approach in part one, we will now deal with how his idiosyncratic personality plays out with his club.
Mou for Mou
The self-proclaimed Special One acts as if his specialness is so intrinsic to himself that he is apart from the club, players, fans, and owners. Just listen to his press conference response to questions regarding the chances of his team in the remaining La Liga games.
“I don’t see it. The title is gone. It is very difficult for me because I am not used to losing. But this team, Real Madrid, is in the business of winning, and we all will do all we can with what is left of the schedule.”
Interesting differentiations here: “difficult for me,” as opposed to anyone else involved, say the players who are collectively called a team? Or “I am not used to losing,” as opposed to whom, Real, who had won La Liga 31 times previous to his arrival? Or, the manner in which he puts distance between himself and the team he was hired to lead “this team, Real Madrid” not our team, but this team. Also note, that in case there wasn’t enough differentiation between all others (his club/team included), and the Special One, he specifically reminds us which team he is referring to.
What he is also doing is conserving his energy and garnering his few chips. He knows the La Liga contest is a goner and he also knows he has time to salvage the year by pursuing other trophies. So he minimizes his emphasis on the lost cause. He will soon begin his assault on what is still left to gain. Of course in this case he had to mend fences with his boss first.
When referring to Kaka’s future, in a recent interview, Mou said “I don’t think he will leave. He is a valuable part of the team and gives us an added option.” In any other team on this globe the only option contemplated by any coach would be to play Kaka as a starter. But Mou sees the star as a piece of the puzzle that may only fit when and how he envisions the puzzle for a given match. He is not building a team he is playing chess and Kaka is another pawn at his disposal.
When he benched Casillas in a now infamous 2-3 loss, he responded to press questions about his decision by stating: “I felt Iker was not in as good a form as his replacement. In any case, it is my opinion on the issue that matters.” Sergio Ramos, commenting on the same issue, said: “The locker room was taken by surprise, we did not expect this. But Iker is our captain and always will be.” Even in the face of a demonstrable debacle, on the pitch and in the clubhouse, created mostly by his need to put his ego above the team’s well being, Mou can think that his judgment was correct. At game’s end, any other coach might at least admit there was room for doubt.
One more example, because it could only be drawn from his repertoire. When Mou was miffed at the fans’ annoyance with his management style and results, he alerted the media to his intended response. He said he would go to the Bernabeu 45 minutes before the next home game’s kick-off to let the fans boo him if they so wished (http://bit.ly/VonRaW). He could, of course, have held a press conference to address any concerns if he so wished, but the Special One does not have to explain himself. Instead he told Real’s fans, in effect, that he will do what he pleases and they are powerless to do more than boo him.
This is someone interested in making history, but only for himself and not for or with his club or players. But Mou can only get away with this if his masters allow him to, and unfortunately, so far, they seem to think he is the reason things work and not at fault if they do not.
In the third part of this three-part series we will discuss how coach Mourinho’s laurels play out against the backdrop of his current situation.