In what had to be one of the soccer world’s worst kept secrets, former Chelsea/Porto boss Jose Mourinho was installed today as manager of Inter Milan, a position so tenuous, the Times’ Gabriel Marcotti rightfully warns “sooner or later you’re bound to face a shotgun and a shovel.”
First, the good news. You™ll have money to spend (although not as much as you did at Chelsea; not initially, anyway). You™ll get to perform in front of 80,000 in a magical place called the San Siro. And the media will not root around in your rubbish or follow your wife to the shops or devote acres of print to your players™ indiscretions. You™ll like that. You™ll have one of the most generous owners in the world, a man who tends to solve internal disputes by handing out pay rises. (Of course, you have more than enough personal wealth and there will be times when you™ll prefer a bit of backbone to a fatter pay cheque.)
Now, the bad news. The man you are replacing, Roberto Mancini, won three straight Serie A titles and was still given the boot. Why? Two reasons: he didn™t get along with people and he didn™t win the Champions League. You may be fine on the first front (with a few notable exceptions, all your players seem to quite like you: it™s one of your best attributes), the second may be a problem. Because excuses don™t go far at Inter.
Look at your predecessor. He had plenty of mitigating factors. One season he was knocked out of Europe because a œfan hit the opposing team™s goalkeeper with a flare. The next two he was dumped out on the away goals rule after dominating both legs. And last year he played most of the decisive two-leg tie with ten men thanks to some dubious officiating. Did that help? Did it heck. He was still seen as a donkey. So here™s hoping you won™t need to make reference to œghost goals or opposing managers visiting the referee at half-time. It won™t buy you any time.