Getty Images

Report: Jose Mourinho to take over at Real Madrid

2 Comments

Real Madrid is going back to the well. The Jose Mourinho well.

The Special One seems to have been given an audition at the highest level, as Goal.com reports that Mourinho will take over at Real Madrid after Los Blancos were eliminated from the Champions League to cap an embarrassing 10 days.

Madrid lost two El Clasicos with Barcelona in one week, falling in league play and in the Copa del Rey. After dropping 12 points behind Barcelona in the league table, the lone competition remaining for Madrid to hang its hat on was the Champions League. However, they bombed out of that too, falling to Ajax 4-1 in the Round of 16 to end their three-year run as Champions League title holders. After the dust had settled, defender Dani Carvajal summed up the disastrous stretch, saying, “our season is over.”

Now, with little to play for except securing next season’s Champions League place, the report states that Real Madrid will axe current manager Santiago Solari and install Mourinho as the new Madrid boss through the end of the season. It will be Mourinho’s second stint in charge of Real Madrid, having led the Spanish giants from 2010-2013, winning the league title in his second season but fell in the semifinals of the Champions League in all three years.

Mourinho has seen his managerial career slip over the past four years during his time in the Premier League. After winning the Premier League title in 2015 in his second season back with Chelsea, he was dismissed the following December with the club off to a disastrous start to the year. He joined Manchester United but failed to return that club back to its glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson, winning the Europa League and the EFL Cup but unable to push the Red Devils back up the league table. He was dismissed back in December of 2018 with the club 19 points off the lead.

Since his dismissal from Manchester United, the Red Devils have climbed back up the table under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, leaving Mourinho with further egg on his face.

The Goal report states that Solari will be dismissed after this weekend’s match against Real Valladolid and Mourinho will be immediately installed as manager. If true, Solari will have lasted less than a year in the position, taking over on an interim basis for Julen Lopetegui in October and installed as permanent manager two weeks later. Goal goes on to report that Mourinho will be installed as manager through the end of the season, although the club’s first choice as long-term boss is the hope of convincing Zinedine Zidane to return.

Mourinho ‘first option’ for Real Madrid’s next managerial hire

AP Photo/Jon Super
4 Comments

Former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon says there’s a very good chance that Jose Mourinho will return to the Bernabeu next season with a healthy transfer budget.

Calling Mourinho “the only manager that Florentino Perez respects,” Calderson says the current Real president is thinking about Mourinho, with Spurs’ Mauricio Pochettino also in the picture.

[ MORE: Real-Ajax recap | Ajax reacts ]

“I have no doubt Mourinho is the first option for the president,” Calderon said. “He’s been called in the last weeks.”

Santiago Solari is the current interim boss of Real, who lost to Barcelona twice before growing the losing streak with Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League dismissal at the hands of Ajax.

Calderon expects major changes due to fan and club unrest, saying, “There’s been three or four months moaning now, lamenting and regretting what we did planning this team.”

Real won La Liga in 2011-12 under Mourinho, as well as the 2010-11 Copa del Rey. He left the club after three seasons.

Pogba explains Solskjaer’s secret: ‘He trusts us, we trust him’

Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images
1 Comment

Take Manchester United’s 2018-19 season as the latest example of what a positive atmosphere around a club can do for results on the field.

[ FA CUP DRAW: Man City, Man United avoid derby showdown ]

When Jose Mourinho was fired on Dec. 18, Man United sat sixth in the Premier League table and had won just two of their last eight games. Under the direction of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Red Devils have failed to win just twice in 13 games (all competitions) and have climbed up to fourth in the PL, along with reaching the quarterfinals of the FA Cup with a resounding 2-0 victory away to Chelsea on Monday.

After their triumph at Stamford Bridge, Paul Pogba, who’s been nothing short of a born-again megastar under new management and raised the bar once again with a goal and assist on Monday, praised Solskjaer for creating an atmosphere — built around “trust” — that the players once again enjoy, and that is a big reason why the club’s fortunes have turned around so sharply — quotes from the Standard and the BBC:

“He trusts us and we trust him. We go for it. You never know if you are going to win it, but we will play to win.”

“It is a beautiful win. Today was a great performance from the team, all of them. It wasn’t easy. We did it. We are really pleased with that win.

“The team helped me get to my best. I give everything for them. They help me score goals and get assists. We are enjoying playing together.”

As for Solskjaer’s tactical approach, which has seen Pogba more involved in the attack than during Mourinho’s rigid tenure, it’s clearly by design, and it’s clearly suiting Pogba well:

“The tactics worked. We asked Ander (Herrera) and Paul, our midfielders next to Nemanja (Matic), to go a bit higher and get into the box more often with Rom (Lukaku) and Marcus (Rashford) wide, so it worked.”

Honest Alexis Sanchez on why Mourinho struggled at Man United

Getty Images
1 Comment

Alexis Sanchez didn’t beat about the bush when discussing why Jose Mourinho’s time at Manchester United ended abruptly.

Sanchez, 30, spoke with the BBC alongside Ander Herrera before United’s FA Cup last 16 clash at Chelsea on Monday.

Speaking to Spanish reporter Guillem Balague, the Chilean forward gave his extremely honest opinion on why it went wrong for Mourinho.

“I’ll tell you personally. I say things as they are and in my opinion, Mourinho is one of the best coaches in the world. In the way that he coaches, how he studies videos, the way he goes about things,” Sanchez said. “But, then within the group there was that feeling that you were in the team then out. Sometimes I didn’t play, then I did, then I didn’t and as a player you lose confidence, each player lost their confidence, do you understand?

“And then an atmosphere was created that was very… confusing. Sometimes I’m playing well and I score a goal and he took me off. And I’d say ‘I love football, I love football.’ I’ve played football since I was five and if I have the ball taken away from me, it’s as if I love my joy.”

In a nutshell: Mourinho changed the players around too much, didn’t explain what he was doing and sucked the confidence out of every single Manchester United player.

Sanchez is saying what we were all thinking and perhaps this kind of honesty will allow the Chilean to move on from the worst period in his career so far.

He has struggled massively at United since Mourinho signed him from Arsenal last January — Sanchez has scored five goals in 37 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils —  and those struggles have got even worse under new caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

However, the former Arsenal star now has a huge opportunity to play regularly as both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are out injured for a few weeks. Sanchez now has a chance to show he can deliver on a consistent basis but after so many months either injured, or battling back to fitness after a lack of game time, there is a long road ahead for Sanchez.

Man United paid $25M to fire Mourinho

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
3 Comments

It’s not like Jose Mourinho has been hurting for money, even with a $2.2M court-ordered fine, but he’ll probably be fairly comfortable in waiting for his next gig.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Sky Sports reports that Manchester United was forced to pay the Portuguese manager and his staff more than $25 million when it fired him in December.

The most significant portion of that sum, of course, will have gone to the man himself.

Mourinho had been linked with a job at Portuguese giants Benfica, but instead is biding his time and hosting a new Russian TV show.

The Manchester Evening News lists goalkeeping coach Emilio Alvarez as the only member of Mourinho hires to remain with United after the managerial shake-up, with those fired including “senior goalkeeping coach Silvino Louro, opposition scout Ricardo Formosinho, fitness coaches Stefano Rapetti and Carlos Lalin and analyst Giovanni Cera.”