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Inter Milan and Chelsea both victims of Post-Mourinho Depression

Thursday 9th February 2012
There is no denying it, love him or hate him Jose Mourinho is an outstanding manager. His record speaks for itself. He is a serial winner, producing trophies and results everywhere he has gone. His attitude and style may not be attractive to some but he is a winner, plain and simple.

Any club would love to have Jose Mourinho as their manager, however their is a downside to having the Portuguese in charge that has reared its head in recent teams. Mourinho has a documented history of bad relations with the hierarchy of the clubs he's managed. His clashes with Roman Abramovich, Massimo Moratti and now Florentino Perez are infamous. But a new disadvantage has appeared in addition to the poor media relations and constant in-house feuding.

"Post-Mourinho depression" has been hurting Chelsea and Inter Milan since his departure from the respective European powers. Porto quickly went from European Champions to also-rans, finishing bottom of their group behind Rangers and Slovakian side Artmedia just two years after he left the Portuguese giants.

Although Porto have won the Primeira Liga five times since Mourinho's departure, the league is very much a two way slog. Only Benfica and Porto have won the league since 2001, when Boavista triumphed and just five teams have ever owned the trophy in it's long history. Beleneses won the league in 1946 but the competition has been largely dominated by the big three of Benfica; Porto and Sporting CP.

It is a league that fans should expect to win, Mourinho or no Mourinho. Europe is a greater measure of decline for Porto. The Europa League win of 2011 was in it's own right, impressive, yet it has taken seven years for a former European Champion to recover, and they have reached the Quarter Finals of the Champions League just once in that time.

Porto could be labelled as over-achievers under Mourinho so losing him presented a return to normality. Their fall has been no worse than that of Bayer Leverkusen and nothing compared to that of Monaco (their opponents in the 2004 final who are currently playing in Ligue 2).

However, Chelsea and Inter Milan do not have that comfort to fall back on. Whereas Porto's glory was a shock to Europe, the successes that Chelsea and Inter Milan enjoyed under Mourinho were seen as near formalities. Despite a string of managerial appointments since his 2007 departure, Chelsea have never successfully replaced Mourinho.

In many ways Abramovich has always yearned for Mounriho's return. Every manager that enters Stamford Bridge does so under Mourinho's shadow. The immediate success that he brought to Chelsea has created a sense of expectancy at Stamford Bridge that borders on entitlement.

Avram Grant lost the League Cup final in extra-time, missed out on the league by just two points and was the width of a goal post away from delivering the Champions League to Chelsea yet was sacked come May. Few would argue that Grant was the right man for Chelsea especially considering his performances at West Ham and Portsmouth, yet his sacking was both brutal and harsh.

Luiz Felipe Scolari did not last a full season and never given sufficient time to prove his quality. Guus Hiddink was a few controversial refereeing decisions away from reaching the Champions League final, but the Dutchman was always going to be a short term option. However, the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti was both mystifying and disgraceful.

So with a double winner, a World Cup winner and the man who brought them closest to Champions League triumph not good enough, who does Abramovich turn to? Who else but the "New Mourinho" of course. The similarities between Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas are evident. Villas Boas is a young man coming off the back of European success with Porto, as was Mourinho, but the results have been a far cry from those gained in Jose's first season.

Villas-Boas' Chelsea may not reach the Champions League this year. They are in pole position in a four way battle for 4th place but they remain an unconvincing side. The fact that dropping a three goal lead at home to Manchester United was almost anticipated is alarming considering that Chelsea conceded just 22 goals in the whole of the 2005-2006 season.

Although his team is not as strong as Mourinho's 2005 outfit, Villas-Boas has undoubtedly struggled under pressure and  he has not handled himself in the correct manner. Indeed, many would feel that Abramovich would be vindicated in relieving Villas Boas of his duties should the situation call for such action.

One club that can relate to Chelsea's post-Mourinho experience is Inter Milan. Inter sat 17th in Serie A before Christmas but they have since turned things around under Claudio Ranieri, still they remain a frail defensive unit. Ranieri's side have now conceded four in each of their last two games. Diego Milito's renaissance up front has been inspiring but not enough to cover up Inter's many problems.

The reign of former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was a disaster and although Leonardo appeared to right the ship (as Hiddink did at Chelsea), the Brazilian soon departed to join Paris Saint-Germain as Director of Football.

However, despite their recent upturn in fortunes, Inter are without doubt suffering from a severe case of post-Mourinho depression. The Italian heavyweights have suffered a dramatic fall European Glory; endured a managerial merry-go-round and possess a pourous defence. They are the case study for just how bad life after Mourinho can get.

That brings us to Real Madrid, speculation is rife that Mourinho will bid farewell to the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer, and it appears that the fans; media and the Real Madrid board believe that the club will be better off without their controversial Head Coach.

Yet in spite of all his failings, Mourinho is on course to finally end Barcelona's dominance and deliver Real their first league title since 2008. Do Madrid really want to chase him out of town? Mourinho's behaviour isn't perfect but prising the title away from Catalonia would surely cement his legacy at the club.

Abramovich regrets the day he ran Mourinho out of town and Moratti wishes he could have persuaded him to stay. Porto, Chelsea and Inter have all experienced a downturn in results after parting company with 'The Special One'. Could Real really take the risk and sack the man who stopped Barcelona? And could the club cope without him? The evidence provided by others suggests that it is unlikely.

 
Shane O'Mahony

Total articles: 5

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