Wednesday 17 January 2018

John Giles: Jose Mourinho lacks the class to be great

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho cannot understand why anyone would label his team boring
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho cannot understand why anyone would label his team boring

IT was with the greatest pleasure that I watched Chelsea play like Premier League Champions against Arsenal and secure a safe point.

As ever with José Mourinho though, what he said after the game took the good out of it.

Mourinho wants to be idolised. Mourinho wants to be the top man. Mourinho makes an idiot of himself every time he allows his darker nature to slip through to the surface.

Mourinho has a flaw which stops me celebrating him as one of the greatest coaches ever. He is monumentally selfish.

During the game at the Emirates on Sunday, Arsenal fans showed a great sense of humour and irony when they sang ‘boring, boring Chelsea’.

It was a parody of their own memories of a time when Arsenal won a great deal under George Graham and did it in a ruthlessly efficient and defensive manner.

The accusation that Arsenal were boring lifted when Arsene Wenger came along and did the same thing as Graham did but in a very different way.

The only problem with that is that Wenger has won nothing for a long time and for all the wonderful football his team plays, Arsenal do not deliver trophies any more.

That could change in the FA Cup final and Wenger has once again made certain that his club will be in the Champions League draw next season but Mourinho’s response to the Arsenal fans was essentially right.

His assertion was that he would prefer to play winning football and we all know that Mourinho’s version of that is hugely effective and I would maintain, anything but boring.

But instead of leaving it at that, he had to add on a bit extra when he showed great disrespect for Wenger by saying that he would prefer to do it his way than wait ten years without a title win.

There was no need for that. Mourinho would get the credit he deserves and much, much more if he would only shut up and not say the things which show him up as vindictive, petulant and downright nasty human being.

There is no right way to win a Premier League title and no single manager can ever be used as a blueprint by another. Each man has different quirks and skills and while I’m certain many of the great coaches shared common traits, they all had their own way of winning football matches.

What I admire hugely about Mourinho is the fact that he really is a coach. He makes players better on the training ground and teaches them how to play the way he wants which may sound easy but is anything but that.

Watching them perform their jobs with such great enthusiasm and application against Arsenal was a joy to behold. All of Mourinho’s players are gifted but he shows them how to use their talents for the general well-being of the team and there are very few in the world who can match him in that area.

By contrast, Arsenal and Wenger have many of the components needed to challenge for the title but they lack the impressive defensive qualities which Mourinho instils in his team.

I have no doubt that the Gunners’ fans who were chanting about boring Chelsea would be more than delighted to see Wenger take a leaf from Mourinho’s book and make Arsenal harder to beat. It’s all about balance.

Wenger looks buoyed up by the form his team has shown since Christmas and I sense he wants to continue in the job. I believe he has earned the right to do just that if he wants to.

I read Ronnie Whelan’s article in The Herald on Monday and he made the point that Arsenal’s owners, directors and fans have been governed by the fear each time they came to judge Wenger over the last three or four seasons in particular.

It was a good point. They know what they have in Wenger and a new manager could be a complete disaster. They have watched the greatest of them all, Alex Ferguson, leave Manchester United and his replacement, David Moyes, come crashing down in flames.

But fear and caution when faced with the unknown can also be seen as wisdom.

I’ve always said that Wenger is an owner’s perfect manager. He delivers a rich cash flow via the Champions League every season and rarely asks for big money to buy players.


He’s done it again this season and has a chance of winning the FA Cup as well. Maybe I’m reading this incorrectly but why would they want to change him? It could be said that the wise course is to leave well enough alone.

Put it this way, I’ll bet Brendan Rodgers, who insisted that Manchester United and Liverpool are the two “big” clubs in England, would get down on his hands and knees right now for what Wenger has achieved this season.

I’ll bet Louis van Gaal would love to be going to Wembley with Manchester United and I’m certain Manuel Pellegrini would take your hand off if you offered him the kind of stability Wenger has engineered at the Emirates.

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