Jose Mourinho's unbeaten home league run remembered
Mourinho's home record ran to 150 games with four different clubs
By John Sinnott
Sporting Gijon now have a special, if unwelcome, place in the remarkable list of records that Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has already established in his relatively short managerial career.
Gijon's 1-0 win over Real at the Bernabeu courtesty of Miguel de las Cuevas' 79th-minute goal inflicted a first home defeat on Mourinho in 151 league games.
Back in February, Real's 2-0 win over Levante helped Mourinho mark the ninth anniversary since one of the four teams he has managed since 2002 - Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real - lost a league match at home.
Prior to Saturday, the last time the self-styled "Special One" experienced a league defeat with a side that he coached was on 23 February, 2002, when Porto were beaten 3-2 by Beira Mar.
Even then, Mourinho could claim extenuating circumstances given his Porto team were down to nine men by the end of the game and played for 65 minutes with less than 11 players.
Jorge Andrade was shown a red card in the 25th minute for a challenge on Beira Mar midfielder Bruno Ribeiro, with Cristiano Rocha's ensuing free-kick putting the visitors 1-0 ahead.
MOURINHO'S HOME RUN
Porto: P38 W36 D2
Chelsea: P60 W46 D14
Internazionale: P38 W29 D9
Real Madrid: P13 W13
Benni McCarthy equalised for Porto just before half-time, before Beira Mar striker Fary Faye restored his side's advantage early in the second half.
Despite midfielder Deco's 74th-minute dismissal, midfielder Carlos Paredes pulled Porto level at 2-2, before Faye's second goal for Beira Mar in the 85th minute ensured defeat for Mourinho's side.
Since then, Mourinho has established himself as one of the best coaches in world football.
And one man who appreciates the Portuguese's qualities is BBC Radio 5 live pundit David Pleat.
"Mourinho is very thorough in his preparation and in his methods," said the Englishman, speaking ahead of that 2-0 win over Levante. "He arranges the coaching sessions and doesn't leave it to others. It's obvious that his players have great faith in him.
"He exudes confidences and that percolates through to the players. They play with no fear."
Pleat describes Mourinho as "imaginative, thoughtful, inventive and creative" and brackets him with other managers that have changed the way football is perceived - coaching greats such as Ukrainian Valeri Lobanovski, Hungarian Bela Guttmann, Italians Helenio Herrera and Arrigo Sacchi, and Dutchmen Rinus Michels and Louis van Gaal.
All of those coaches, like Mourinho, either had low-key professional playing careers or, as in Sacchi's case, had never played professionally.
"If you haven't been successful as a player then if you become a coach you have to work harder," said Pleat.
KEEPING THE RUN ALIVE... JUST
2002 Porto v Belenenses Jankauskas 90+7 FT 2-2
2005 Chelsea v Birmingham Drogba 82 FT 1-1
2006 Chelsea v Arsenal Essien 84 FT 1-1
2009 Inter v Atalanta Cambiasso (equaliser) 80 FT 4-3
2009 Inter v Siena Sneijder (equaliser) 88 FT 4-3
"Coaches like Mourinho were prepared to work at lower levels and then be promoted," added the former Tottenham and Luton manager, referring to Mourinho's apprenticeship under Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona as well as Van Gaal at the Catalan club.
"You can see that with young English coaches like Paul Tisdale at Exeter, Eddie Howe at Burnley and Sean O'Driscoll at Doncaster. You can see their philosophy on Saturday in the way their team plays - it is obvious what they have done during the week in their training sessions.
"Brighton manager [Gus] Poyet also stands out as a coach in England. You can tell that his players know exactly what they have to do - they are very well drilled."
Mourinho has long been associated with the concept of "transition" in a football match - the idea that the opposition is at its most vulnerable when it loses possession.
"At corners, Mourinho would always keep three players up," said Pleat. "That avoids the penalty area becoming too crowded and allows the goalkeeper a clear run at the ball but it also provides his teams with great counterattacking opportunities."
Editor of respected tactics website
Michael Cox added: "Mourinho always drills his sides primarily in two major formations and has the ability to switch between them quickly and seamlessly.
"At Chelsea and Porto it was 4-3-1-2 4-3-3, at Inter and now at Real it has been 4-3-1-2 and 4-2-3-1, though I think he's only used 4-3-1-2 once, at home to Valencia."
Pleat points out that Mourinho has been fortunate to have taken charge of four strong sides packed full of high-quality international players and, in the case of Chelsea, Inter and Real, backed by ambitious owners ready to invest plenty of money to develop the squad.
Luck has also played a part in Mourinho's unbeaten league run, no more so than on 25 August, 2002, when Edgaras Jankauskas's 97th-minute equaliser gave Porto a 2-2 draw against Belenenses.
Miguel's 79th-minute goal ended Mourinho's home run
Since that defeat against Beira Mar in February 2002, 147 home league games have come and gone. Of those 147 matches, 122 have been won, with Mourinho's teams scoring 331 goals and conceding 87.
But Mourinho's sides have long been associated with a never-say-die attitude.
At Chelsea, goals in the last 10 minutes from Didier Drogba and Michael Essien respectively gave the Blues 1-1 draws against Birmingham and Arsenal in 2005 and 2006.
"Mourinho has always been very astute in the way he has used substitutes and the way he maximised Essien's versatility was striking at Chelsea," said former Spurs manager Pleat.
"Essien would often start in the centre of midfield but, if things weren't going well after half-time, Mourinho would put him at right back and allow him to bomb forward."
As well as Essien, central midfielders Claude Makelele at Chelsea, Esteban Cambiasso at Inter and now Xabi Alonso play a vital role for Mourinho tactically on the pitch.
"These players are almost like cricket captains in the way they instruct the side," added Cox. "Cambiasso, in particular, used to become involved in long conversations with Mourinho on the sidelines during games."
Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho has also been a key figure to Mourinho's home league invincibility, playing for his compatriot at Porto, Chelsea and now Real.
"Carvalho is an excellent reader of the game and is prepared to come out with the ball," said Pleat. "English centre-backs tend not to do that but it is a great way to take advantage of space.
"When a defender steps up, it allows you to create two-on-one or three-on-two situations - what we call overload."
As well as Carvalho, two assistants - physical coach Rui Faria and goalkeeper coach Silvino Louro - are highly trusted by Mourinho.
"With Faria the players do not have anything else but the football to work and run with," said Portuguese journalist Jose Carlos Freitas, who writes for the Record newspaper.
Faria has said of his approach in the past: "They are football players not marathon men. They do not need to run for two hours in the same pace, they need to run when it is necessary with the ball under control."
Freitas added: "Louro seems to have a special touch because three of the keepers he worked with - Vitor Baia at Porto, Chelsea's Peter Cech and Julio Cesar at Inter - they all won Uefa's Best Goalkeeper award."
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