Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jose Mourinho -SELF BELIEFS - Who's Your Boss?

CNN) -- The success achieved by Portuguese soccer coach Jose Mourinho suggests that his players would not just run through a brick wall for him; they'd happily march through an obstacle course full of them to earn his respect.

The self-proclaimed "Special One" is the flamboyant manager of Italian champions Inter Milan who are currently on course to take the Serie A title for the fifth consecutive year.

But if his current Inter squad love him, then his former Chelsea players adore him, after his successful stint at the club between 2004 and 2007 delivered their first English Premier League triumphs in over 50 years.

England international and Chelsea stalwart Frank Lampard says of Mourinho: "I love him as a man and as a manager."

The two sets of players collide in Europe's most prestigious club competition -- the Champions League -- on Wednesday, when all eyes will be on the game's ultimate touchline showman in his first competitive match against his old club.

But how does Mourinho arouse such complete loyalty from his employees? And is he everything a good boss should be? He does and he is, according to sports psychologist Andy Barton.

.It's no fluke that after a defeat, Inter gets straight back on its feet. That's all thanks to Mourinho.
--Diego Milito, Inter Milan

Europe's Champions League
The F.A. Premier League
Chelsea FC
Inter Milan FC
Jose Mourinho
Carlo Ancelotti

"Mourinho's role with his players is the same as it should be in any office," Barton told CNN. "He is very, very supportive of them and treats them as equals. He knows he needs to focus people on what they do well, and then on what they need to do to improve.

"Sometimes in the workplace managers think it is all about being ruthless when that is the least effective way of doing things. Appraisals can turn into a long list of what employees do wrong. That doesn't help at all; it puts them in a negative mind set.

"But Mourinho will always look to turn a positive into a negative. If a team is 3-0 down at half time and the manager starts screaming about all the mistakes they've made it isn't going to help. Instead he'll focus on some of the things they are doing right, and then tell them how they can turn the game around.

"You have to be specific about what is required; that way, the player or employee starts to build up a mental image of what is needed. A good manager is committed to trying to get the best out of an individual, and knowing how each member of staff ticks. Mourinho is a master at that."

Barton says Mourinho is desperate to alleviate as much pressure as possible from his players, and is quite prepared to do something outrageous to shield them from criticism.

Mourinho was hit with a three-game ban following a gesture he made during Saturday's controversial 0-0 draw against Sampdoria. After two of his players were sent off Mourinho crossed his arms in the manner of being handcuffed -- a suggestion that Inter were being victimized by match officials.

Previously this season, after another poor Inter performance, Mourinho leapt off the team coach to physically confront a journalist who he said had invaded his players' space. The media uproar after the confrontation deflected attention from the bad result, and made sure he was the story instead.

One of his players, Diego Milito, confirmed the success of this tactic in an interview with newspaper Gazzetta Dello Sport: "There is no coach like him when it comes to sticking his neck out and defending everyone, that way reducing the tension within the team when things aren't going well. It's no fluke that after a defeat, Inter gets straight back on its feet. That's all thanks to Mourinho."

Self belief
Underpinning Mourinho's approach is an unwavering self belief that he transmits to his players, as Barton explained: "Mourinho's self belief is palpable and you can read it in everything -- his body language and how he speaks -- you know he has complete trust in his abilities and that gives his players confidence.

"He's like a general on the touchline, commanding his troops and he explodes sometimes. He may do it heighten the opposition players arousal levels, to inspire in them an intense desire to beat him, and that can throw them off their game and affect their decision making. He very much makes it us against the world."

There is another intriguing subplot to the Inter versus Chelsea clash. The English side are now managed by Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, who left Inter's bitter rivals AC Milan this summer.

A running battle between the pair erupted during their stint in opposite dugouts and it continued even after Ancelotti left for London. Mourinho has been quoted as saying: "Ancelotti is no friend of mine." The Italian replied by referring to his rival as "His Mourinhity" in his autobiography.

Mourinho often says inflammatory things about opposition players and managers before a big game but Barton says Mourinho may take a different approach in the build up to Wednesday's crucial match. He told CNN: "I don't think he will be confrontational about his return clash against Chelsea because he has always professed his love for the club and the players he used to coach but he will make a few jibes about Ancelotti, and could try to undermine his position by talking about his own success at the club.

"The thing about Mourinho is that you don't know what he's going to do next but whatever it is it will be because he thinks it is beneficial to the team. Mourinho will definitely be looking forward to going back. He will thrive on the attention and will be happy to keep the pressure from his team."

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