José Mourinho Leaves Tough Task for Successor at Real Madrid

José MourinhoJosé Mourinho’s third and final season with Real Madrid has been full of drama, more than anything. The club recently announced that the Portuguese will not continue in Madrid next season and the club is already looking for a replacement. Mourinho’s time in Madrid can’t be fully considered a success, but it can’t be considered a full failure either, and his legacy in the club will make the job of his successor quite difficult.

Mourinho arrived in Madrid with one thing in mind: ending Barcelona’s era. The coach himself wasn’t too hesitant to admit that his goal was to end Barcelona’s dominance and make Real Madrid a winning team again. He did that by winning the Copa Del Rey during his first season, however, that’s hardly what his first season will be remembered for.

After Mourinho’s arrival in Madrid, the Clasicós became very intense. The rivalry seemed to get out of hand; Madrid played ultra-physical and ultra-defensive football against Barcelona. The Clasicós were no longer a battle on the pitch, they were a battle in the press rooms and sidelines too. It seemed like Mourinho had pulled his team to a state where beating Barcelona was the most important thing. Managing to do that in the Copa Del Rey might not have been done in the most beautiful way, but it added to the players’ confidence, results of which were seen in the following season.

Real Madrid’s season of 2011-2012 was impressive domestically. It’s fair to say that’s when the team played its best football under Mourinho, ended up winning the La Liga and even managed to beat Barcelona in the process, this time, by playing better football. But 2011-2012 wasn’t only the most successful season Mourinho had in Madrid, it was also the turning point of his time with the Spanish giants. The objective had been reached, Real Madrid had beaten Barcelona domestically, and despite the disappointment in Europe, Mourinho’s second year was a success. Then what started the downfall that led to the trophiless season in 2012-2013?

Real MadridPerhaps, in some way, Mourinho ran out of ways to motivate his players. After winning the La Liga ahead of Barcelona, Mourinho could no longer motivate the players with the thought of beating Barcelona, in other words, he could no longer use the tactic that had united the squad and made them a winning force.

When the 2012-2013 season kicked off, the mentality of the squad was nothing like the year before. They impressed in Europe but struggled domestically. And when the Liga title started to slip out of their hands, Mourinho’s relationship to his players started to crack.

It’s hard to say what actually happened between Mourinho and some of his key players such as Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. But it might not be a coincidence that Mourinho’s relationship with the two experienced Madrid-icons fell apart; Mourinho changed a lot and did a lot of things against the club’s values, and the two players didn’t digest that and the relationship broke down. That’s when the whole team started to crack, as the Spanish players took Casillas and Ramos’ side, the Portuguese stars stood behind Mourinho. The unity that had won them the La Liga was long gone, and eventually lead to a trophiless season.

Mourinho leaves Madrid in a state of disaster. He did what he promised to do - ending Barcelona’s dominance in Spain - but failed to keep Madrid on top and failed to maintain the unity of his squad. By Mourinho’s standards, his time in Madrid is not a success and it’s surely not as much as people in Madrid hoped for. Even more importantly, Mourinho leaves a rather difficult task for his successor.

Real Madrid is reportedly chasing Carlo Ancelotti to replace Mourinho, other names linked to the club are Jupp Heynckes and André Villas-Boas. Ancelotti looks like the most likely, and perhaps the best option. He is no stranger to dealing with big egos and the solid display his side put up against Barcelona will surely encourage Real Madrid’s board.

Real MadridHeynckes might well be a good option as well if he decides to continue his career. However, Madrid’s rather complicated situation might see him stay away as the Spanish club’s management is nothing like it was in the very well organized and stable Bayern Munich. Or perhaps Heynckes himself would be the one to stabilize things in Madrid, who knows?

André Villas-Boas, another name linked to Madrid, is a great coach, but taking over a club like Real Madrid might be a bit too much to ask for. Villas-Boas never really got along with the big egos in Chelsea, and there surely won’t be any less of those egos in Madrid. With the urgent need to get Madrid back on track, Villas-Boas - who trusts a process instead of quick changes - might not be the right man for the job.

Either way, whoever replaces Mourinho will have to find a way to unite the squad again. Mourinho leaves Madrid in square one, they have to start rebuilding again, just like they did in 2010 when Mourinho arrived. The progress Mourinho made was more or less destroyed by the internal collapse of the team, something Mourinho himself can be partly blamed for. Mourinho started a fire that got out of control, and now it’s time for Madrid find someone capable of taming the flames.

Written by Jen Evelyn

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Tottenham vs Fulham: Spurs Look to Seal Champions League Spot for Next Season

Gareth BaleMarin Jol’s Fulham will make the very short trip to White Hart Lane today as they face 3rd place Tottenham Hotspur.

In his pre-match press conference, ex-Spurs and Fulham manager Martin Jol urged the controversy surrounding Gareth Bale to remain at Tottenham for the rest of his career, and eventually become a White Hart Lane hero and legend. Martin Jol was the manager at the Spurs when Wales international Gareth Bale joined from Southampton in May 2007. Jol said:

“I saw Bale at Southampton when he was 15, we followed him and other people came in but I had a few words with his mum to convince him to come to Spurs,”

“With hindsight it’s very satisfying, he’s probably the best player in the Premier League at the moment and he shows it week in, week out.”

“I played him in his first match against Manchester United and he had better stats than any other player, and he was 17. Hopefully for the league and for Spurs he will stay because I think it’s a very good club for him. He’s getting stronger and stronger and playing in the hole he is probably even better.”

“Spurs is a big club with a big fan base and he could be a legend there. If he decides to go on to bigger things abroad it can be a risk. It comes off sometimes but not always.”

“But whatever he decides to do he will have a big future. Hopefully he stays in the league and I can keep enjoying watching him.”

Bale did not play in Tottenham’s embarrassing Europa League defeat against Inter Milan, and Tottenham’s support will be happy he’s back in the starting line-up after they were less than convincing as they progressed to the Quarter-Final of the UEFA Europa League.

STAT ATTACK: Tottenham have won their last six Barclays Premier League games against Fulham

Players will catch up with each other as they face their old side. Dimitar Berbatov returns to White Hart Lane after he enjoyed a spell there before moving to Manchester United and then progressing to Fulham. Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele face their friends after they moved to the Lane from Craven Cottage last summer. Martin Jol also returns to the Lane after he managed Tottenham from 2004 till 2007.

Dimitar Berbatov & co.STAT ATTACK: Fulham have scored a total of only two goals in their last eight top-flight games against Spurs.

Some Spurs fans will have to wonder today; will two defeats in a row to Liverpool and Inter Milan have taken its toll mentally on Tottenham’s players. If so, they could be in a real trouble as they look to stay in third spot. Last season it was all looking plush for the London club, and then a dip in form at the end of the season made them loose out on a Champions League spot, and Harry Redknapp got the sack.

STAT ATTACK: Fulham have only ever won 21 of their 104 Premier League London derbies

What to do? Welsh International and Tottenham’s star player has been told he will become a legend if he stays at White Hart Lane for his whole career.

STAT ATTACK: Fulham have taken only five points from six London derbies this season, while Spurs have 16, more than any other capital club.

STAT ATTACK: Only five of Gareth Bale’s 16 Premier League goals this season have come at White Hart Lane.


Tottenham should have too much for an inferior Fulham side. Bale, Dempsey and Dembele will attack the space and will be a huge threat. Bale will also be a big worry for Fulham from set pieces. Defensively, Tottenham have Michael Dawson returning after a rest in Italy. He should curb any Fulham attack with the help of Hugo Lloris, who was also rested at the San Siro in goal.

Score: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Fulham

Bale, Adebayor, and Berbatov with the goals.

Written by Harry Robinson