From the Azteca Stadium dugout Jose Mourinho has just launched a water bottle into the home crowd in delight amid a cacophony of jeers after Christian Pulisic‘s last-gasp winner against Mexico sealed qualification to the 2022 World Cup for the U.S. men’s national team.
Now you can wake up. But maybe not…
Mourinho has been speaking to Eleven Sports about his future and said he fancies switching things up a little and becoming a national team manager, and not just for his beloved Portugal.
“I want to compete in new competitions,” Mourinho said. “I think about the World Cup and the European Championships. For a long time I have had the desire to try out such an adventure. Right now, I see myself more at a national team than with a new club. Is Portugal the right team for me? Not necessarily.”
Mourinho’s Portugal have Fernando Santos in charge and he has led them to both the EURO 2016 title and now the UEFA Nations League trophy. So, unless he wants to leave his role, he can pretty much remain in charge of the Portuguese national team for the next few tournaments.
Before we get on to where Mourinho could end up internationally, here’s what he had to say about his future aside from a national team setup.
“Winning a fifth championship in a different country or the Champions League with a third club are things I’d like to do,” Mourinho added. “I wouldn’t do it just for that. I only go where a project convinces me. I want to be happy, not necessarily win, I want to be happy and I don’t want to accept a proposal without being convinced of it, that’s what I’ve always thought. That’s why if [a club] told me ‘today there are no conditions to win, but we want you to create the conditions to win’, then I would evaluate it.”
There have been various rumors about Mourinho heading to clubs like Newcastle and Everton in the Premier League after his time in charge at Manchester United ended last December in dire circumstances, less than three seasons after he took over. It is unlikely he will take a gig outside of Europe’s elite clubs, and many national team jobs appear out of reach for him right now with England, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal all set with their managers
His combustible nature means that club jobs aren’t lasting over three years for Jose right now, so maybe the international arena is the best place for Mourinho for the rest of his career.
He will have less time around players, more time to work on scouting and less day-to-day dealings with the media. Surely these are all good things for Mourinho.
Is the USMNT a serious option? First up, U.S. Soccer would have to considerably push the boat out, financially, to hire him. Secondly, they’ve just hired a coach in Gregg Berhalter with a long-term vision even if things haven’t got off to a great start. And last but not least, would Mourinho want to manage the U.S. men’s national team?
He’s spoken about how he enjoys preseason trips each year to California and how he wants to work in Major League Soccer one day, so there is an interest in working in the USA there.
From U.S. Soccer’s perspective, if Berhalter’s young group fail miserably this summer at the Gold Cup amid a wave of negativity surrounding the team, would it be worth handing the keys over to Jose for a few years to increase interest levels if nothing else?
Not only would his huge global appeal make the USMNT relevant again across the world, his coaching style actually lines up pretty well with what the U.S. have within their pool of players. He can set teams up to defend solidly and hit opponents on the counter or channel attacks through a special playmaker like Pulisic. And, let’s be honest, the USMNT are trying to be something they’re not right now.
Mourinho to the USMNT will probably never happen, but think about it. Mourinho would get the job he wants next, the USMNT would get huge interest levels from across the globe and we would get to see Mourinho in CONCACAF qualifying which he seems ready-made for.
I’m just saying, it all kind of makes sense…