Jose Mourinho's record speaks for itself. He has won league titles in Portugal, England and looks likely to win another in Italy. Yet if you cut though the bravado and myth that surrounds Mourinho you see that his achievements have more to do with his careful selection of the teams he chooses to manage.
He took the managerial position at Porto—one of the powerhouses in Portuguese football—midway through their 2001-02 season where they finished third. Going on to win the league in the next two seasons, he then went on to manage Chelsea in 2004 who in the previous season had finished second to Arsenal's Invincibles. Now he is with Inter who have been league winners for the past three seasons.
Mourinho does not stay too long in one job, admitting that he should have left Chelsea a year earlier than he did. Mourinho is first and foremost a self publicist, he craves the limelight, it's his name that must come before that of the team or any player or owner of the club. The press adore him as he courts controversy at every opportunity, making their lives easier commenting on the celebrity that is the man, the myth, Mourinho.
But the question remains why has he been succesful. Well if we look ath the players he has bought then one thing is clear, he is no master in the marketplace.
Ricardo Quaresma Porto €18.6m
Ali Sulley Muntari Portsmouth €14m
Mancini Roma €12.5m
Cristian Daminuta Poli Timisoara
Riccardo Bocalon Treviso
Juliano Belletti Barcelona £3.7m
Florent Malouda Lyon £13.5m
Tal Ben Haim Bolton Free
Claudio Pizarro Bayern Munich Free
Steve Sidwell Reading Free
Ashley Cole Arsenal £5m
Khalid Boulahrouz Hamburg £7m
John Mikel Obi Lyn £16m
Ben Sahar Hapoel Tev Aviv £320,000
Andrei Shevchenko AC Milan £30.8m
Salomon Kalou Feyenoord £8m
Michael Ballack Bayern Munich Free
Michael Essien Lyon £24.4m
Shaun Wright-Phillips Manchester City £21m
Lassana Diarra Le Havre £1m
Scott Sinclair Bristol Rovers £160,000
Asier Del Horno Athletic Bilbao £8m
Jiri Jarosik CSKA Moscow £4.83m
Ricardo Carvalho Porto £19.85m
Didier Drogba Marseille £24m
Tiago Benfica £8m
Kezman PSV Eindhoven £5m
Paulo Ferreira Porto £13.2m
Arjen Robben PSV Eindhoven £12m
Ranieri whilst at Chelsea
His most successful buy has been Essien, but that comes as little surprise as at the time every major club was chasing Essien and Mourinho was wielding the biggest chequebook. Drogba arrived in similar circumstances with Mourinho just outbidding the clamour of top clubs chasing his signature.
When Kenyon joined Chelsea in 2004 he also came with United's list of transfer targets, of which Arjen Robben was one and one again their was a bidding war with Manchester United which Chelsea won. Carvalho and Ferreira played for him at Porto so their signings had little to do with discovering new talent.
A quick glance at the rest of the players he has signed and a pattern emerges—most have not been successful with the majority having played poorly under Mourinho. Now contrast this to the players Ranieri bought prior to Mourinho and you see that Cech, Cole, Lampard, Duff, Makelele, Bridge formed the core of his title winning team in 2004 and 2005.
So Mourinho's success has not been derived from him being a master in the marketplace. He has taken on teams that are coming to their peak and provides that extra little push to take them to the top. Now how does he do that?
Well he makes the players believe they are the best in the world. At Chelsea he was the same building up his players and he did it recently with Ibrahimovic against United.
So what does Mourinho really do? Well repeat after me—"You are the worlds best footballer", "You are the worlds best footballer". This strategy can only work over a short period of time whilst the player believes in the mantra. So when the game is up, Mourinho is off.