The Special One

We are barely into the new football season and Mourinho is already using his well-known psychological warfare to try and undermine anyone that gets in the way of his quest for more honours. Whether it is berating his hapless physiotherapists or realising that John Terry is past it, but not wanting to admit it. He will heap the blame on anyone but himself because after all he is the self-proclaimed special one. He is very good, but he pales in comparison to the original master of attrition, Helenio Herrera.

The Wizard

HH was using psychology throughout the 1950’s and 60,s when Mourinho was just a twinkle in his mother’s eye. However the comparison between the two is there for all to see, both men were by their own admission average players. Herrera was arrogant as is Mourinho, both had a hunger and desire to get themselves to the top and were smart enough to use their intelligence and attention to detail to catapult them to the top of the management profession. Each man plied their trade with great success in Portugal, Spain and Italy, and have a host of La Liga and Serie A titles between them. They are the only managers able to deliver the European Cup with Inter Milan. Mourinho is very much a man in the mold of HH and is not afraid of challenges. However, where they differ is that HH was prepared to push the boundaries much further than Mourinho. Sid Lowe in his great book Fear and Loathing in La Liga (2013) noted that during his time at Barcelona he was accused of everything from doping his players to breaking the cast off the leg of player he though was faking injury. If you think this is unacceptable behaviour, he managed to top this in Italy, where on one occasion he allowed a player to play without informing him that his father had passed away before the game. But more tragically, he may have been responsible for the death of the Roma player, Giulano Taccola who suffered from a heart murmur. After being informed by the doctor Herrera declined to tell the player, who 2 weeks later died after a training session. In spite of all of this, HH was revered by his players, with some even regarding him as a genius and when you look at his track record it is hard to dispute that he was a great manger, so the next time you question the antics of Mourinho remember it has all been done before by someone with much more style the original power crazy self-important manager Helenio Herrera

Herrera's double La Liga winning Barcelona side
Herrera’s double La Liga winning Barcelona side
barcelona double
Herrera’s double European cup winning Inter Milan team