A Brief History of Jose Mourinho

Caption: Camp Nou, where Mourinho worked under Bobby Robson

Few football managers are able to consistently make as many headlines as the players they coach or the clubs they manage. Jose Mourinho certainly does, and even if those headlines are not always complimentary, he has become part of the footballing landscape in England and Europe, in much the same way that Sir Alex Ferguson was and indeed still is, albeit from the side lines.

Now the self-proclaimed Special One has taken over at Tottenham, a club where just a few weeks ago all seemed lost in the EPL and in the Champions League. However, if there is one competition Mourinho knows more than any other, it is the Champions League. Spurs fans can be forgiven for suddenly having raised expectations for Europe’s most prestigious cup competition and looking to free bets and deals. It also seems a perfect time to look back at Jose’s career so far.

Early days and his big break

Mourinho is one of a number of modern coaches who did not enjoy success or indeed any career as a professional player. His first strides on the touchline took him to Vitória de Setúbal, his hometown club where he became youth team coach, before moving to the assistant manager’s role at Estrela da Amadora. In 1992 he would get the opportunity that would change his career, and his life, and it came from an unexpected route.

Bobby Robson was appointed manager at Sporting Lisbon and, not knowing the language, needed an interpreter, one who understood football and coaching. Mourinho got the job, and when Robson was sacked the next year, moved with the ex-England manager to Porto. In his role as interpreter, he would discuss tactics and coaching methods with Robson, and carry the message to the players.

Their time at Porto was incredibly successful and when Robson was appointed manager at Barcelona, Jose moved with him, where he was taking a more and more prominent role. Robson would concentrate on the attacking aspects, while Mourinho dealt more with the defensive side, something that would stick with him throughout his career. Robson moved on after a successful spell, but Mourinho stayed with his replacement Louis van Gaal, to continue in his assistant manager’s role.

Benfica and União de Leiria

September 2000 saw Mourinho move into management proper, when he was offered the job at Benfica. He stayed only 9 games however, after a change in the club’s presidency soured his relations with the hierarchy. That summer he moved to União de Leiria and, though he was only there for half a season, he achieved success, guiding the side to an impressive 4th place before he left.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Benfica                 11                      6                      3                     2                54.5

União deLeiria    20                      9                      7                     4                45.0


Mourinho was at Porto for two and a half seasons, and in that time the club enjoyed unprecedented success, winning six trophies, including the Primeira Liga twice, the UEFA Cup and most notably the Champions League.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Porto                   127                    91                      21                  15              71.7

Chelsea (Part 1)

Mourinho’s move to the EPL would define his career, and his Chelsea side became a real force in English football. Star signings included Didier Drogba, and Chelsea won the league in consecutive years, plus the FA Cup. He didn’t, however, manage to repeat his Champions League success. Mourinho left in September 2007 after a series of disagreements with owner Abramovich.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Chelsea               185                  124                     40                  21               67.0

Inter Milan

Initially, domestic success was not matched in Europe by the Italian giants, and with an increasingly spiky relationship with fellow managers and the press, his time at the San Siro looked like it may be short lived. The following season though, Inter won the Champions League, and in doing so Mourinho became the first manager in Italy to complete the treble.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Inter Milan         108                    67                      26                  15               62.0

Real Madrid

Mourinho’s next club was Real, and though he did improve the side from their current situation, winning the league, he never enjoyed the full backing of the fans or players, and was involved in several unsavoury incidents. After three seasons he once again moved on by mutual consent.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Real Madrid       178                   128                    28                   22               71.9


His second spell at the West London club was a mixed affair. Mourinho led Chelsea to wins in the league and the league cup, but failed to see out his four year contract, leaving by the now familiar mutual consent in December 2015 after a disastrous start to the season.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Chelsea               136                    80                     29                   27               58.8

Manchester United

Caption: Old Trafford

In his first year at Old Trafford, Mourinho’s United side won the League Cup and the Europa League, maintaining Jose’s 100% record in European finals. He was not able to build on that start however, and in the summer of 2018, he was cutting a more and more disconsolate figure in press conferences. The season started badly, with high profile rifts between Mourinho and his players, and he left in December.

Played               Won               Drawn               Lost               Win               %

Man United        144                   84                      32                  28               58.3


It is early days at Spurs, but the club has got off to a bright start under his tenure in the league and Champions League. There is no doubting this Tottenham side has the potential to win trophies, the main question is how long will Mourinho be around to see that happen?