We have become very keen on Thursday evenings of late. Because it’s the time of the week when the straight talking Manchester United legend, Paul Scholes, takes a metaphorical cat and lobs it directly into a massive congregation of unwitting pigeons who, until that point, had just been quietly chatting amongst themselves.
This time he has taken aim at Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for his recent touchline antics. As usual, Scholes’s argument is debatable. But, as usual, we find him making a lot of sense. He says:
Watching Chelsea against Liverpool on Tuesday night, my feeling was not so much that Jose Mourinho was looking for the opportune moments to appeal against a decision or make his presence felt. Rather for most of that 90 minutes, and the 30 minutes of extra-time that followed, Mourinho seemed to be under the impression that it was him who was refereeing the game.
You might immediately think ‘hang on. Wasn’t Scholes himself managed by the master of all moaners, Sir Alex Fergie?’ Yes he was but Scholes argues that Fergie’s tactics were potent because he picked his moments instead of ranting constantly:
People like to think it happened all the time but, believe me, in 19 years playing for him you recognised that he knew how to pick his moment.
As neutral observers, we didn’t much care for Mourinho’s Machiavellian nature when he was at Chelsea first time around. Then we missed him when he was gone. But now he’s back his moaning is once more beginning to grate. When Chelsea lose he sometimes implies some kind of conspiracy. And that has landed him in hot water.
Mourinho is one of the best coaches in the world. The best? Possibly – he is the closest thing in the game to a guarantee of success. But there is a big difference between a great manager and a great man – we hope that Jose will be remembered as both, but he has a long way to go to fulfil the criteria for the latter and we aren’t sure whether the toys need to come out of the pram quite so often.
Chelsea fans: do you ever find Mourinho’s tactics a bit over the top?