Jose Mourinho Tactics: A Man Ahead of His Time

Sat 23 October 2021 | 14:30

Jose Mourinho is one of the best coaches in the world, but he has come a long way to get to where he is now. This part will go over Jose Mourinho tactics in order to gain a better understanding of this fascinating trip.

This article surveys Jose Mourinho's career path. Perhaps many are curious regarding

Jose Mourinho tactics at Inter Milan

or even Jose Mourinho tactics at Chelsea.

Many people were not surprised when Jose Mourinho was fired as manager of Tottenham Hotspur. Although the timing of the sacking was unusual given Spurs' upcoming Carabao Cup final against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City a week later, the circumstances were far from unique, with Tottenham lying in seventh place.

But it was his signing at

AS Roma

two weeks later that caught everyone off guard, a return to the country where he won a historic triple with Internazionale in 2010. Mourinho may have lost his position as 'the Special One' in England due to his recent failures, particularly Manchester and London. However, the Italian press still admires him for what he accomplished over a decade ago.

"A Special coup that will revitalize the club, the city, and Italian football," read a significant commentary in La Gazzetta Dello Sport on the day the Portuguese manager was named. The new manager has been dubbed the 'King of Rome' by Corriere Dello Sport.

Mourinho's formation decision has remained relatively constant throughout his managerial career at the top level, much like his reactive approach. At every club he's been with, the 58-year-old has primarily utilized the 4-3-1-2, 4-3-3, and 4-2-3-1 formations.

Jose Mourinho Tactics at Porto: How Everything Shaped?

Jose Mourinho won almost every imaginable trophy during two incredible seasons at Porto, and this is the whole story about Jose Mourinho tactics at Porto. Many believe

Jose Mourinho tactics

started here, while there is some truth to that now.

During two spectacular seasons at Porto, Jose Mourinho won practically every prize possible., including two league titles, the Portuguese Cup, the Europa League, and the Champions League. This triumph catapulted him into the spotlight and caught the attention of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

When he first joined


, the Portuguese giants had not won the domestic title in four years and had finished third the previous season, their lowest finish since 1982. His remarkable achievements rank among the best in football history, and his club remains the last to win the European Cup outside of Europe's top four divisions.

Mourinho's Porto was highly adaptable, but they mostly used a diamond 4-4-2 shape. They didn't do anything particularly strategically unique, but the collective's excellent organization was what stood out. This was perhaps the most well-drilled of all Mourinho's squads, with the players forming a tight formation and using an aggressive high line to catch opponents off guard.

The idea which took shape in

Jose Mourinho tactics at Porto

was super-fast counter-attacks. Their attacks were centered on Deco's ingenuity as a number 10 and forwards Benni McCarthy and Carlos Alberto's runs. Porto was far from a defensive team, but they did prioritize compactness and resilience over creative expression. 

However, one of Mourinho's best abilities is adapting to the opponent, and depending on the opposition, he would frequently vary between back-to-the-wall defending and expansive possession during their Champions League run. As the head coach of one of Portugal's top teams, Mourinho stuck mainly to his attacking 4-3-3 shape but tweaked it for practically every game.

Jose Mourinho tactics

were all about pressing, work rate, pressing, and finishing in the best possible way. During this time, Ricardo Carvalho, Costinha, Deco, and Derlei were the most notable players.

 The Journey of Jose Mourinho Tactics at Chelsea

Jose Mourinho tactics at Chelsea

is rooted in defensive football. Whatever Jose Mourinho achieves or fails to achieve at Tottenham Hotspur, he will always be remembered as a legend at a different London club: Chelsea. Mourinho destroyed Arsenal and Manchester United's hegemony between 2004 and 2006, catapulting the Blues to the top echelons of the English league and forever altering the tactical landscape of the game.

Mourinho's 4-3-3 formation, free of the dogmatic English preoccupation with the 4-4-2, caused chaos for opposing sides and helped him win the Champions League with Porto. The benefits of having three central midfielders against teams with only two are clear. Still, they were enhanced by the quality of Chelsea's players and Mourinho's ability to change his tactics depending on the opposition.

Frank Lampard was freed as a creative and late-arriving goal-threat with the dynamic Tiago or Geremi alongside him, reaching new heights under Mourinho and establishing himself as one of the league's elders.


were able to generate space in dangerous areas thanks to the formation's structure, the strength of the midfield trio, and striker Didier Drogba's ability to occupy two central defenders at once, allowing Lampard, Drogba, Joe Cole, Damien Duff, and Arjen Robben to flourish.

Mourinho also continued the present pattern of attack-minded fullbacks.

William Gallas

and Ferreira provided the width, allowing players like Robben, Duff, and Cole to cut inside and switch places, which was an unusual function for wide receivers’ players at the time. Take Jose Mourinho's 4-3-3 model and apply it to Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea took advantage of Mourinho's reality that most English teams were trapped in the 4-4-2 formation.

He brought Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira from FC Porto to smooth the transition, much like Brendan Rodgers did with Joe Allen when he moved to Liverpool, and he proceeded to tweak his lineup slightly depending on their opponents. He demonstrates the benefits of a one-man edge in any pitch region to Zonal Marking, and how it helps him easily beat opponents.

The plan worked because it was unique, had a significant numerical advantage, and his players were aware of it. Chelsea grind out games because of this approach, and Didier Drogba's size aided when things went tough. Despite his tactical brilliance, Mourinho's personality was what made his Chelsea team click. His ability to instill a siege mentality. 

The team worked as Mourinho's one against a plethora of external obstacles, which was critical to instilling the mentality and morale required for the team to win. It's undoubtedly the biggest flaw in Mourinho's current managerial style, but it's one he had and exploited to great advantage at Stamford.

It's when he won two Premier League Mourinho's Chelsea teams of 2004/05, and 2005/06 will be remembered as one of the best teams in Premier League history, thanks to their tactical innovation, a core of excellent players, and a dynamic and brilliant coach.

All About Jose Mourinho Tactics at Inter Milan

Mourinho has a track record of success after taking Porto to new heights, shattering records with an ambitious Chelsea club, unlocking the code in Spain with Real Madrid, and bringing Europe's second-tier Cup to Manchester United for the first time. However, it was at Inter Milan that everything fell into place for him, and it was there that he was at his best.

Jose Mourinho tactics at Inter Milan would have turned into 4-2-3-1 formation more frequently, and his new signings have had the right profile to carry out his tactical strategy. Pandev and Eto'o were superb on both sides and contributed strongly in both halves, with Pandev insisting on seeing his wingers trackback and execute defensive tasks as well. Eto'o was also free to attack with

Diego Milito

, with the gut-busting Maicon always on hand to cover the flanks.

The full-backs, Zanetti and Maicon, had the freedom to join the attack thanks to a hard-working midfield duo of Cambiasso and either Motta or Dejan Stankovic, and Mourinho, who is a perfectionist when it comes to organizing the defensive aspect of a game, would have little trouble knowing the qualities of his players. The scenario was set for Sneijder as the primary creator, and he was given complete freedom in midfield to create chances for Milito at will.  

This Inter team worked extremely well, and they demonstrated their quality once again in the few months between signing and the middle of the season. The Nerazzurri were unbeatable in the league, winning 14 of their first 19 league games, carrying on from where they left off the previous season. This run included victories over Napoli, Genoa, and Fiorentina and a 4-0 win over AC Milan for local bragging rights.

 This club sought to build a domestic dynasty while also adding some European pedigree, and they had a President in Massimo Moratti who was eager to back them up. Much of Mourinho's issues have stemmed from disagreements with the club's owners, but at Inter, he had a great working relationship with them, and the benefits were evident on the field. This was crucial.

Mourinho and

Marco Materazzi

are famous for sobbing together in the aftermath of Inter's Champions League victory in 2010, not out of joy, but out of the anguish of saying goodbye. Jose forged a closer relationship with his treble-winning squad in Italy than he would ever have in football in two years.

Inter won Serie A in back-to-back seasons, and Mourinho won the Italian Cup and the Champions League last season, making him the first manager in history to win two trebles. For Inter's domestic games, Mourinho resurrected the 4-3-1-2 formation utilized by Porto, with Wesley Snjeider serving as the fulcrum in a number ten role, precisely as Deco did at Porto.

They were also a lot of fun to watch, frequently outscoring opponents by two or three goals and counter-attacking at breakneck speed. On the other hand, This Inter team is better known for their Champions League run, in which Mourinho was more defensive than ever. Jose purposely set up his team opposite his opponent

Pep Guardiola

at the height of tiki-taka in Spain, switching to a back-to-the-wall 4-2-3-1 for the European knock-out fixtures.

The goal was to shut down opponents, absorb pressure, and let the opposing team have the ball for long game times. That was a brave and original tactic when dominating possession was thought to be the only way to triumph. Inter's tenacious defense and tireless tracking back by their wingers were a resounding rejection of the trend.

Mourinho has signed for

Real Madrid

, where he will continue his rivalry with Guardiola and Barcelona, only days after lifting the Champions League trophy in Madrid. His Inter career is remembered fondly because it was possibly his best period.

Mourinho has a history of ending his tenure at a club on a negative note, but that wasn't the case here. There was silverware and unwavering dedication, allowing him to achieve his most significant potential.

Important Thing about Jose Mourinho Tactics at Real Madrid

Rome was not built in a day, and this is the story of

Jose Mourinho tactics

. Mourinho's time at Real Madrid is often underestimated. While he only won one La Liga title in three years.

It should not be forgotten that he defeated Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, probably the best side in football history and he did it while playing attacking football. Mourinho has built a reputation as a tactical genius, and he's proven himself to be one on several occasions this season and in the past. 

Everyone in the town was crazy about

Jose Mourinho tactics at Real Madrid

. For the most part, though, Mourinho elected to keep the formation the same for most of the season. Real Madrid used a 4-2-3-1 formation in 36 of 38 La Liga games, all 12 Champions League games, four of six Copa del Rey games, and both Supercopa matches. For a variety of reasons, Mourinho's preferred formation is 4-2-3-1. It is, first and foremost, the ideal counterattacking structure.

The theory was that once the defense has taken possession of the opposition team, the holding midfielder (typically Xabi Alonso) can quickly move the ball to the attackers, who can then link up with one another to catch the opposing defense off guard.

Second, the 4-2-3-1 formation allowed the team's four attackers much freedom, which was ideal for Real Madrid because Cristiano Ronaldo rarely could remain out wide, and

Karim Benzema

and Mesut Ozil frequently drifted out wide. When Gonzalo Higuain was on the field with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, the players were even less committed to their roles.

Finally, the configuration gave Real Madrid's offensive defenders adequate protection. Marcelo and Sergio Ramos were known for attacking full-backs, and Pepe also would like to get forward on occasion.

Madrid's defense would be vulnerable to counterattacks if they didn't have defensive or holding midfielders, especially if they were playing against clubs who only counterattack for goals. Fortunately, Sami Khedira and

Xabi Alonso

have done an excellent job covering the defense, thanks to Jose Mourinho tactics at Real Madrid.

Real also won the Copa del Rey in 2011, and Mourinho had the best three-year win percentage of his career at the club, with a 71.9 percent win percentage. The humiliation of his final season and the team's collapse, on the other hand, would serve as a precedent for Mourinho's subsequent periods at Chelsea and Manchester United. He was never able to fully recover from the emotional toll that this assignment had on him.

In a nutshell, Real played some of the best counterattacking football ever seen in the sport. He didn't press high this time, but he did press furiously, keeping players behind the ball in a brutally organized midblock, but whereas he attacked in twos and threes at Porto, Chelsea, and Inter, Real have let off the leash.

Under Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo had the best years on the left wing, scoring 86 goals in 72 La Liga games between 2010 and 2012, mainly due to staying high and waiting for the break. When the opportunity arose, he enjoyed the help of Karim Benzema or Gonzalo Higuain,

Mesut Ozil

, Angel di Maria, and Marcelo.

Unlike his previous clubs, Mourinho used two holding midfielders in Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso, allowing the attacking five to run riot. Real Madrid dominated the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, scoring 102 and 121 goals, respectively, more than Lionel Messi's Barcelona.

Everything Under the Sun on Jose Mourinho Tactics at Manchester United

Jose Mourinho's resume read like a man who had tasted success wherever he went when he joined in 2016. At Porto FC, Chelsea, Inter, and Real Madrid, he won local and European titles. Manchester United hired him for immediate impact after David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal's repeated failures to live up to Sir Alex Ferguson's standards.

Jose Mourinho tactics at Manchester United have always relied on his mastery of the middle, sturdy defense, and sharp counter-attacking style. Because of how his Manchester United team played, they have already won two trophies in their first two seasons.

Manchester United's starting configuration under Jose was a 4-3-3, which changes to a 4-1-4-1 as the game continues. They formed a mid-block, with the backline of the defense defending the center defensive midfielder holding the ball. Jose later told them to press through the man-oriented midfield. Pogba and Fred took turns shutting down their opponents in this game. 

This would prevent the opposition from creating any opportunities via the middle, forcing them to play backward. Later, the team would press wide, causing the opponent to play an aimless long ball or make a mistake. During possession, the team switcheed to a 3-4-3 formation, with the central defensive midfielder dropping back to acquire control of the ball and find a pass to one of the two attacking midfielders.

Attacking wide players line up top and go inside to connect up with central midfielders. At the same time, the fullbacks and wingers should press forward to overlap. They continued to play in a diamond configuration with the defense, center midfielder, and winger.

Romelu Lukaku was the team's most individual player up top, where his quick runs and positioning would aid to bully the defense and create spaces for wingers or midfielders to run into and score.

United, under Mourinho, also employed the long ball strategy. The defender or central defensive midfielder would try to play in a long ball to Romelu Lukaku, who was aerially strong and kept the ball in his half. Still, critics often discuss about

Jose Mourinho tactics at Manchester United

as there are some unsolved problems about the period.

Jose Mourinho Tactics at Tottenham: Not ‘the Special One’ anymore?

Tottenham Hotspur were 14th in the table

Jose Mourinho tactics at Tottenham

come to the stage. Following his employment, the club climbed to the sixth position in the table, scratching their way into the Europa League. Spurs appear to be well on their way to brighter times in 2020-21, with new acquisitions Sergio Reguilon, Pierre-Emilie Hojbjerg, and Gareth Bale.

Following Spurs' 6-1 thrashing of Manchester United, we take a closer look at Mourinho's tactics with the club this season. After nine Premier League matches, here is a tactical analysis of Jose Mourinho's refurbished and reinvigorated Tottenham Hotspur.

Tottenham had limited possession of the ball but scored on the break. Mourinho used a 4-4-1-1 shape, with players crammed into the midfield. Attacks mainly were made on the left flank, which has been a tough spot for United. Steven Bergwijn used his better pace over Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire to operate between the lines.

Mourinho has improved on a team already capable of fighting for the top four in 2020-21. He needed an upgrade in central midfield the most, and he got it by acquiring former Bayern youth product

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

. Last season, Spurs primarily played in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Dele Alli and Harry Kane regularly switching positions in attack. 

Spurs now have a far more solid defensive foundation and sounding board for Moussa Sissoko to drive forward, with both Ndombele and Hojbjerg covering in behind him. Ndombele, on the other hand, can drive forward, something he has already demonstrated to be more than capable of doing at the start of this campaign.

Mourinho deserves credit for Ndombele's resurgence at Spurs, as the player's motivation was frequently questioned throughout the 2019-20 season. Ndombele's presence higher up the field had become increasingly noticeable in recent games, such as when he was positioned in front of Sissoko and Hojbjerg against Manchester City in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Tottenham now has a screen in front of the opposition's number six and another attacking link for Harry Kane and Heung-Min-Son. Even Harry Kane will occasionally drop deeper than

Tanguy Ndombele

, taking up a position at left central midfield and preserving the rare 4-3-3 formation.

Jose Mourinho tactics at Tottenham propensity to transition play from side to side were working perfectly. Pierre Emile Hojbjerg has been at the center of this strategy, serving as a vital link between the central midfielders and fullbacks. Only three players in the league had completed more passes per game than Hojbjerg at the time this report was written, and none had completed more passes in total.

He's seventh in passing yards per game (77.2) and second in overall passing yards (695), trailing only Michael Keane. The former Southampton captain has been at the center of everything Tottenham has done this season, not simply going backward and playing it safe, but distributing the ball long and attempting to create chances for his teammates higher up the pitch, similar to Chelsea's Jorginho.

Tottenham frequently look for fast shifts down the left flank before working the ball center for Kane or

Heung-Min Son

when switching play. They attack 38 percent of the time from the left, 28 percent from the middle, and 34 percent from the right.

Tottenham has developed an intriguing set-up to achieve significant success in 2020-21, thanks to sound defensive principles, Kane and Son's positional rotation and connection, and Hojbjerg's ball possession enabling the switch of play. It remains to be seen whether or not Jose Mourinho's Tottenham can go the distance and win any silverware, but they are unquestionably better than they were at this time last season. That concludes the discussion. So far in 2020-21, a tactical breakdown of Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur.

A Conclusion on Jose Mourinho Tactics

Jose Mourinho has a reputation for being an obstinate individual. He is, nevertheless, a serial winner. With no playing experience before his management jobs, this excellent resume was constructed from the bottom up. In fact, all the success in the club can sum up in

Jose Mourinho tactics


Before joining


, he had a well-developed tactical style. It's helped that the injured list isn't as long. It will also help Mourinho's methods if he develops some dedicated, strong players.

It may still appear to be a forced union. However, it is a battle between two powerful forces. Jose Mourinho isn't known for sticking with a team for long periods. But, before he departs, he may be able to bring some much-needed silverware to Tottenham.

The top sides of Mourinho's teams share many similarities, making it tough to tell them apart. Real Madrid arguably played the best football, but they only won one major title, and while he set records at Chelsea, the wealth he spent may diminish that achievement.

What Porto accomplished will never be repeated, but we believe Mourinho's most outstanding achievement was winning the treble with a defensive Inter team when Pep Guardiola's possession-style football ruled the world. Jose Mourinho is the coaching equivalent, and they both belong to the same clique in today's football landscape. As a result, one can be sure that Jose Mourinho tactics growth path is far from peak days.

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