Jose’s sticky start to Serie A

An undisputable pedigree, a devastating winner: and in his own words, “The Special One”. Inter coach, Jose Mourinho has made a tepid start to life at Inter, with the Serie A champions currently lying in third place after eight games.

After months of speculation, Mourinho made his move to Inter charged with the task of bringing the European Cup back to Inter Milan for the first times in over 40 years, as well as cruising to yet another Scudetto title.

Mourinho

Mourinho started his new role by recruiting two wingers, Ricardo Queresma and Amantino Mancini – two fleet-footed, skilful wingers full of pace and flair. No doubt the ex-Chelsea coach was looking to implement his favoured 4-3-3 formation that he made so infamous whilst at Stamford Bridge. Also, signed up was Portsmouth’s Sulley Muntari – again a similar player to one of Mourinho’s first signings at his former club, a fellow Ghanaian workhorse, Michael Essien. A tireless midfielder brought in to offer power, presence and a few tough challenges, allowing the more gifted and creative midfielders to provide the cutting edge.

Whilst Mourinho tries to recreate his past successes from his Chelsea days, his new team don’t seem to have the same bite as his former side. Chelsea under Mourinho were devastatingly consistent, tough to break down and had leaders all over the pitch. The same can’t be said for his Inter team at present, the midweek 3-3 draw at Anorthosis provided two almost comical defensive errors gifting their opponents a root back into the match. This following a dramatic last-gasp 3-2 win at bottom club Reggina in Week 10, where Inter threw away a 2-0 lead before eventually clinching victory with a late Cordoba strike to spare their blushes. Although, before this week their defence had been in top form with three clean sheets on the bounce in the league, on two of those occasions the Nerazzurri had failed to find the net themselves. The Inter Coach has found it hard to find a natural balance to his side and despite results being steady, the cracks in the side are becoming more evident.

Just months into his reign at the Serie A giants, Mourinho has found himself somewhat under pressure. The Scudetto title was supposed to be a walk in the park with the Nerazzurri squad head and shoulders above any other in the league.. But after just 10 games Mourinho’s men have already dropped nine points and their next five games sees them pit their wits against teams flying high in the top half of the table, including the visit of title rivals Juventus in Week 13. A thorough examination of their title aspirations indeed.

Despite the early doubts setting in, the Portuguese tactician’s record in management is unblemished and he is rightly regarded as one of the best coaches in the world. This is why he was brought to Inter and along with the good work and high standards left by his predecessor, his job at the San Siro has a substantial amount of pressure attached to it. His start to life at the Nerazzurri has been unspectacular yet steady, but even as his side sit third in Serie A, just a single point off leaders and arch-rivals Milan, the critics have already begun circling. He has made few friends in the Italian media and there seems to be trouble brewing in the dressing room also. Although saying that, it is part and parcel of being Head Coach at Inter that you clash with the enigma that is Adriano. The Brazilian’s exile from the first team is just one example from many of Jose Mourinho – the man, the coach, the merciless winner. He likes a selfless striker who will act as a target man, hold up the ball, run the channels and work for the team. Adriano, that is not.

Dinatale

This weekend sees the visit of high-flying Udinese. The undoubted fire power of Antonio Di Natale and Fabio Quagliarella will surely test the struggling back four of Inter, as the Bianconeri come in off the back an impressive start to the season averaging at least two goals for in each of the last seven league games. After an uncertain week for the Biscione, the Zebrette might just fancy their chances at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. For Mourinho, his side’s home form will be the foundation to build a title challenge on. Unbeaten on home turf when at Chelsea, Mourinho will be looking for a similar run of solidarity in front of the Nerazzurri faithful and Udinese will be a early test of their confidence. Should Udinese score the first goal the expectation and rising doubts about the home side’s capabilities could play to their advantage as the fans start to get on Mourinho’s back.

With all the makings of a fascinating contest and with Mourinho knowing the coming month will have a hugely important bearing on where the Scudetto eventually ends up, the stakes are high.

It’s been an uninspiring start to his new job and with critics and supporters already wavering, will this Portuguese supremo’s confidence in his own ability falter? No way, Jose.

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