José Mourinho has courted much controversy in the past with what he says and does, but remains one of the best managers in football. His discipline, man-management, tactical organisation, and mental strength have been successful in many countries and competitions. However, Mourinho isn't someone Liverpool fans generally have much time or affection for. Then there's the manager's role in Eva Carneiro's eventual departure from Chelsea, something that's part of something far more widespread and problematic in football than many would like to admit or address.
Rafael Benítez was a fierce rival of the Portuguese manager when both managers arrived in England over ten years ago, and the many close battles the two had heightened tension between Liverpool and Chelsea camps. Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool's former manager, was quite close to Mourinho before succeeding club legend Kenny Dalglish in 2012. Now that Rodgers is no longer in charge, Mourinho provided his take on the situation.
Most Premier League managers are invited and expected to comment on a managerial departure as anyone would expect. Headlines are sensationalised in many unsavoury ways where a plea for patience becomes "blasting" or "lambasting" the club in question. It would be quite a story for a fellow manager to back the recent sacking of a fellow manager, but of course, any inflammatory comments aren't welcome. A simple call for greater understanding of the pressures of management along with words of support for the fallen would usually suffice.
Gary Neville didn't like the apparent "fawning" over Jürgen Klopp in his column for the Daily Telegraph, and while Mourinho isn't making the same point as Neville, the under-pressure big spender also expressed his displeasure for excitement.
You know, I feel sorry that somebody lost his job. And it is quite sad that football in this moment – even in this country – is happy with it. I’m not speaking about Jurgen [Klopp], I’ve a good relationship with him and nothing will change that. I’m speaking about the circumstances that made Brendan [Rodgers] lose his job. I don’t like people being excited that a new manager is coming. I don’t like a player to say: ‘Now, we are going to give extra to prove to the new manager.’ Give to Brendan! Not to the new manager. I don’t like this at all. It’s part of my world I don’t like. My world is changing so much. It’s getting worse.
Brendan Rodgers was struggling with whatever plan he was trying to implement and could no longer inspire positive displays from his players. He wasn't sacked after less than a year in charge or discarded at the first sign of trouble. FSG gave him time and tried to move ahead from a defeat that should have signalled the end of the Rodgers era. Of course the players would feel fresh and positive at the prospect of linking of with one the most highly-regarded managers in the game after a poor run of form that went back as far as March.
This idea that Liverpool fans are overreacting or that the players were problematic is nonsense. The players worked for Rodgers, the fans gave him time, and Klopp is a genuine coup for the club. Maybe Mourinho resented players giving a bit more for him when he took charge of clubs in his career. It's part of a cycle that managers will suffer as well as benefit from at some stage, and perhaps Chelsea's players will experience a boost later in the season if they continue to represent the worst of a changing world for José Mourinho.